I was shocked when Dana White went on a mini-tirade about Quinton Jackson’s movie role in the upcoming A-Team remake / inevitable box office bomb. Everyone in the MMA community knew White was furious about Jackson agreeing to play B.A. Baracus, the tough sergeant made famous by the immortal Mr.T. Normally news like this would thrill White and others in the UFC front office. Just not when the movie is shooting right in the middle of a season of The Ultimate Fighter. A season that stars Rampage and is building towards a mega-fight with Rashad Evans. A fight that would have to be postponed now that Jackson wanted to see his name in lights.
Still, the two men had made amends. Or so it seemed. At the UFC 103 Press Conference, just moments after telling the press that he and Jackson had patched things up, Dana put the former light heavyweight champion on blast. It turns out that Jackson’s fight would be delayed further, into March, because Hollywood would need to shoot some retakes. White was furious and is never one to keep things bottled up.
“Hollywood is a pain in my ass sometimes,” White said. “The reality is, you get these Hollywood agents that start talking all this smack about what these guys are going to get. And these agents deliver about four percent of what they talk. They usually don’t deliver. They’ve got him (Rampage) thinking that he’s going to make this movie for nothing, and then in the sequel he’ll make $20 million.”
Yesterday, the chickens came home to roost for White. It was Jackson’s turn to be livid and he went to war the only way a man can in this post 9/11 world: on the Internet. At his personal blog, Jackson announced he was done with fighting.
“Dana & I finally talked & we made up & then after that he went back on the internet & said some bullshit & he was talking bad about the movie when information is not even supposed to be released & talking about payments which is not even true could really hurt my future acting career, which could very well last longer than my fighting career. I’m not like Randy Couture. My body has been getting so many different injuries that I wont be able to fight until my forties & neither do I want to fight that long. So I feel like my second career could be in jeopardy… so I’m done fighting. I’ve been getting negative reviews from the dumb ass fans that don’t pay my bills or put my kids though college. So I’m hanging it up.”
While Rampage talks about how much the A-Team meant to him as a kid, how it was one of the few happy memories he has of spending time with his father, there are other reasons for this move too. You just have to read between the lines. He feels he can make more in the movies than he can in the cage, another indication that UFC salaries haven’t kept up with the fighter’s level of stardom. And maybe that’s true. It looks like Jackson is at least willing to put that to the test.
One way or another, this has to be a wakeup call for White: you can’t say whatever you like and have no consequences. If you make up with a proud man like Jackson, you can’t immediately turn around and bash him in a public forum. Dana has played this game with many fighters, battling publicly with Frank Shamrock, B.J. Penn, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Fedor Emelianenko. It cost the UFC dearly with Fedor. Now it looks like it may have cost them Rampage as well.