Quinton "Rampage" Jackson isn't letting a silly legal battle stop him from getting into fights. He's calling out people while streaming video games on Twitch, and it's working.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion (and before that, Pride FC legend, and after that, Mr T in the A-Team movie) Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been stuck on the sidelines since April, when he pounded Fabio Maldonado into bloody hamburger meat. Since then, he's been tied up in an ugly legal battle with fight organisation Bellator, who he claims breached his contract, allowing him to rejoin the UFC. He's been using his newfound spare time to stream video games on Twitch, because obviously.
What you've gotta understand is, Rampage wasn't noteworthy in his heyday just because of his Incredible-Hulk-like slams or his tendency to howl like a wolf in that section of Target where everyone ironically buys Three Wolf Moon shirts. He's always been a character -- at times hilarious, at times introspective and interesting, at times an ageing manchild who makes excuses about losses and dry humps reporters.
He's also famous for getting really angry at a door.
Dude is an entertainer through and through. Even if the law prevents him from stepping into a cage and punching people until their lungs come out, he'll find a way to entertain. For now, that's Twitch.
He's been streaming games like Grand Theft Auto V, Star Wars Battlefront, and -- naturally -- the most recent UFC game. He's pretty fun to watch, and he even howls after he wins sometimes. But the main event of his stream has undoubtedly been his drunken calls to UFC fighters and journalists. For instance, his Twitch chat convinced him to call noted MMA journalist Ariel Helwani in the early hours of the morning. Apparently Rampage hates Helwani, for reasons even Helwani doesn't fully understand. First, Rampage left this incredible voicemail:
"Ariel, I'm sorry for calling you so early in the morning, but I noticed that you sent my call to your voicemail, which means that your big-nosed motherfucking arse is up. The only reason why I called your motherfucking punk arse is because I'm up playing on Twitch and Team Rampage told me to fucking call you. I don't know why they like you, but they like you, they dig you. So, I called your motherfucking arse early in the morning and you sent me to voicemail. That's why we ain't never gonna be boys, motherfucker. Take your punk arse to sleep. Yeah, fuck Ariel."
Then Rampage called again, and Helwani actually picked up. Here's audio of the whole thing, taken straight from Twitch by Achilles UFC:
It's... really something. Rampage says he's down to squash their beef (which is mainly Rampage's beef), and then he cracks jokes through an inebriated fog. Most tellingly: "When you break up with your wife and you've had kids with her," Rampage said, "what you do is you buy your kids annoying toys. This is what I'm doing to you right now: I'm your annoying toy."
He also did a live prank call of former opponent (and also ex-light heavyweight champion) Rashad Evans, with whom he shared some fantastic trash talk back in the day. The ensuing exchange was a bit, er, less heated. A brief transcript, per Bloody Elbow:
Rampage: "Do you like dragons?" Rashad: "Dragons?" Rampage: "Dragons. You don't like dragons? Who don't like dragons?" Rashad: "No..." Rampage: "Good you say don't like dragons, because I'll be draggin' these nuts up on your face when we fight again!" *both laugh*
Then Rampage complimented Evans on his most recent fight, a comeback battle against Ryan Bader after two years away from the octagon due to injury. Evans lost, but he fought well, all things considered. Here's a recording of their full exchange:
Rampage's most noteworthy Twitch moment, however -- at least, so far -- is his call-out of notorious UFC middleweight (185 lb) fighter Michael Bisping. The two used to train out of the same fight camp in England, but their relationship soured after Bisping cut ties and switched to a different camp in California. The tension reached a fever pitch while Rampage was streaming Zombie Army Trilogy and a fan asked him how he felt about the whole thing. Rampage didn't hold back:
"Fuck Michael Bisping. He's a traitor. I was going through another court case that you guys don't know about. I was always cool with Bisping, helped him train. I even paid half on some of his training camps, but he wanted me to pay for his sparring partners. He would hurt my sparring partners and all this bullsh-t. I would never care. I was always cool with him. Then he gave a statement against me in the other lawsuit. That's bullshit. How you going to do that to somebody who helped you out?" "That's why I said I would like to fight Bisping. He's a fucking arsehole. I've never done anything wrong to him. You don't do that to your teammates. He's a cheap motherfucker because he doesn't like to pay his manager when he owes him money. That doesn't have anything to do with me. In order to help his case, he lies on me and gives some bullsh-t statements. I'd fight him on the playground if I knew I wouldn't go to jail."
Bisping has since replied via Twitter:
"He's so unprofessional he can't even make 205 [the light heavyweight maximum], let alone a catchweight. I'll fight him any weight he wants though."
Here's hoping Rampage is clear of his legal troubles soon, because that's a freakshow fight I'd pay to see, if only for the trash talk in the lead-up. Both guys are fantastic talkers, though the fight itself might prove to be... short-lived. Bisping has a bad habit of circling into power punches, aka Rampage's specialty. But Rampage can be slow and plodding, easily avoided by nimble fighters like Bisping. So who knows how it'd go down.
If all else fails, though, I suppose they could stream a match in one of the UFC video games. It'd be an anti-climax worthy of a symphony of balloon fart noises, but it'd be something.