This past week, Jeff Sherwood, founder of Sherdog.com broke the news that Rampage had resigned with the UFC. What has followed has been nothing short of a media hail storm. Every major and minor mixed martial arts media source is reporting on it and many fans are chiming in via social media. Reason being that Bellator MMA and Viacom are contesting Jackson’s decision stating that he is still under contract with them. So, what does this all mean and why the media frenzy?

Never has there been a rival organization that could swing it’s financial weight in the same way as Zuffa, LLC  (owner of the UFC) until Viacom acquired Bellator MMA. Since ousting Bjorn Rebney, the overall feeling has been that Viacom is taking more ownership and more pride in their MMA promotion.

This is the first real battle that we have seen between the UFC and any organization that can match their financial and legal strength. This isn’t a war between Bellator MMA and the UFC, this is a battle between Zuffa, LLC’s legal team and Viacom’s legal team. The question is if they are picking a fight that they can win.

The subject matter of this war is Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. This is a man that has been fighting professionally since 1999. He was brought into the UFC after Zuffa, LLC acquired Pride Fighting Championship. One of many acquisitions that will certainly be brought to light in the antitrust cases that have been filed against the UFC.

By fighting this legal battle, Bellator MMA and Viacom are helping the UFC no matter the outcome of the case. Jackson is stating that Viacom has failed to meet the terms of  his contract and also that his contract provided an out in the case this sort of scenario after he provided forty five days notice. Zuffa, LLC also seems to be confident that Jackson is in the right.

Whether Bellator MMA losses this fight or wins, the UFC will ultimately be the victor. A strong argument against the accusation that the UFC is a monopoly is that Bellator MMA is a competitor. This legal case puts a spotlight on the fight between the two organizations for an athlete. Not a bad situation for the UFC no matter the outcome.

No fighter has sacrificed more and given more of himself for the love of fans than Rampage. He fought for a long time in Pride, an organization with different rules and no athletic commission. True danger was the name of the game and he put himself in it for the love and respect of the fans. He is still a very competent competitor, but it seems to be a battle of were he will end his career.

That is far from a slight on Rampage as he is closer to forty than he is to thirty and he has given the MMA community so much. The fear is that getting caught up in a legal battle between two multi-billion dollar corporations will keep him on the shelf for long length of time.

No doubt the clock is ticking on his career and hopefully the fans get a little more Rampage before it’s too late.

 

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.