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Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson fighting to get in the Octagon in 2015


Quinton "Rampage" Jackson said he's confident in his contract status and his ability to sign with UFC. Credit: Bellator MMA

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has no scheduled fight for 2015, but he's confident that a fight will occur in the Octagon and his opponent will be a UFC light heavyweight.

"We're very confident," Jackson told Newsday on Monday night. "We have some pretty strong attorneys. And the UFC has some strong attorneys."

The UFC announced the signing of Jackson during its fight card in Brazil last Saturday night. The issue is that Jackson was believed to be under contract with Bellator, a deal Jackson said he terminated because of a breach.

Jackson said his contract with the Viacom-owned Bellator, which he signed in June 2013 under then-CEO Bjorn Rebney, stipulated that he was to be informed of the amount of pay-per-view buys for Bellator 120 on May 17, 2014, which Jackson headlined and was the company's first foray into pay-per-view. Jackson, who won a unanimous decision over Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, said his contract included a 45-day window for both sides to settle any disputes. Jackson said Bellator did not inform him of the amount of PPV buys and never settled the dispute. It is unclear how or if Jackson would have benefitted financially from the amount of PPV buys since his contract with Bellator has not been made public.

"The breach was based on the pay-per-view numbers," Jackson said. "My contract, I was allowed to terminate if a breach wasn't fixed within 45 days. They didn't fix it, so I terminated it."

Bellator president Scott Coker, who replaced Rebney last June, disputed that Jackson's contract was terminated.

"Let us be clear that Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson is under an exclusive contract with Bellator MMA," Coker tweeted Saturday night. "We will protect our contractual rights."

When contacted by Newsday on Monday night, a Bellator spokesman said it is a "legal issue at this time" and declined to comment further.

"I can assure you that if the UFC signed him, the UFC feels optimistic and confident that he's in a position to be signed," UFC chief content officer Marshall Zelaznik said at Saturday night's post-fight news conference. "If there's any issue, I'm sure they will figure that out as the days go on."

There has been no additional comment from UFC.

This comes several days after two former and one current UFC fighter filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the UFC charging the promotion with acting as a monopoly and monopsony.

Jackson said he has had no contact with Bellator since news of his new UFC deal became public. He also said his manager, Anthony McGann, hadn't mentioned any Bellator contact as of Monday night.

"We had lawyers look at the contract and the breach and the UFC did the same and they were like, 'There's no way they would stand up in court, [Bellator] don't stand a chance,' " Jackson said. "I knew that, but when we had three attorneys say that, I thought it was funny that [Coker] said he's going to try to fight me on it."

That's the legal fight, which could last several months if not longer. No court date has been scheduled yet.

But what about the actual fighting, you know, inside the cage?

Jackson (35-11) won his three Bellator fights after losing his last three fights in the UFC from September 2011 to January 2013. The former UFC and Pride light heavyweight champion said he's healthier now than during his last run in the UFC.

"I'm a fighter, I like fighting people, I like knocking people out," Jackson said. "I'm only 36 now. I think I got a couple more years in me before I look like one of those guys who should just be fighting in the gym."

When Jackson will fight in the UFC still is unknown. He has a few ideas on his opponent. He's always been vocal about wanting to fight those who beat him in the past. Active UFC fighters to do that include Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

But whoever, whenever and wherever Jackson fights next, he has a clear vision of how he wants the night to unfold.

"I want to come out looking in really good shape, I want to have all my skills on point," Jackson said. "I want to be fast. I want to have my good head movement going. I want to surprise the crowd and make everybody go 'Whoaaaa' and 'Wooooo', you know? Then I want to knock out my opponent, walk out of the cage after I have my hand raised, all the UFC fans to be excited giving me high-fives while I'm walking back to the locker room like it used to be. I don't care about anything else. That's what I want to happen."

New York Sports