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« | Home | »

Rampage wins title, Liddell still garners attention

By Adam Morgan | June 6, 2007

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By Adam Morgan


Rampage on ESPN Hotlist 05.29.07
Uploaded by kaminoko

Hours after UFC 71, I posted at Sprawl ‘n Brawl the reasons why Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is good for the UFC. To summarize, he is naturally marketable. Every interview he does is humorous. And as many have pointed out, he appeals to an African-American market that UFC has yet to tap into.

With all that being said, who has the UFC decided to put over?

Chuck Liddell.

Read on…

From a Q&A session with Dana White in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Q Chuck Liddell is among the most recognizable UFC fighters. What impact does his recent loss to Quinton Jackson have on UFC?

A It happens in this sport. Guys lose. Chuck is one of those fighters that’s going to bounce back. He’s a tough guy. … You never know who’s going to win. Chuck getting knocked out was the equivalent of Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson.

Excuse me? Buster Douglas? Surely, you’re not comparing ‘Rampage’ Jackson to Buster Douglas. Let’s be fair here. Buster Douglas was a 42-to-1 underdog. Didn’t you see the betting odds for the Rampage/Liddell fight? A 42-to-1 underdog Quinton Jackson was not. Not even close. This is an example of pushing the angle that the fight was a fluke victory for ‘Rampage’.

Not a single mention has been made of ‘Rampage’ in any of the interviews I have seen with Dana recently. Yet, he repeatedly mentions Chuck Liddell.

Most interesting are his comments yesterday on The Jim Rome Show. He says Chuck Liddell is one of the best, if not the best, mixed martial artists in the world. Dana mentioned that Liddell v. Silva would be the biggest fight in MMA history. I would have to argue that the 205 pound double-crown championship fight between Rampage and Dan Henderson could be considered the biggest fight in MMA history, depending on how you market it. White was also still shocked that Chuck got laid out. Apparently, Dana forgot what happened in Japan in 2003.

I don’t have anything against Chuck Liddell. I think he’s a great fighter and I love watching him fight. Chuck has done great things for the UFC and helped them get to where they are now, and I am sure Dana is appreciative. However, you have to roll with the punches and embrace your new champion.

You have a commodity that is waiting to be marketed in Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Market him correctly, and he can help you take UFC to a new level. If Jackson beats Henderson, you’ll have no choice but to market him — so you might as well get a head start.

C’mon, Dana. Like Rampage would say, “you know the bidness.”

Topics: Adam Morgan, MMA, Media, UFC | 26 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

26 Responses to “Rampage wins title, Liddell still garners attention”

  1. groda says:

    Biggest fight in mma history Fedor vs Crocop.

    Dana seems to actually buy into his own hype machine. It starts with hype/selling/building interest and somewhere along the line he actually starts believing it.

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    Dare I argue for Ogawa vs. Yoshida as the biggest fight in MMA history? That might not make me popular, but the TV ratings and $$$ might make the case for me. :)

  3. Mike says:

    White’s a promoter. One of his meal tickets just got KTFOd on one of their biggest stages ever. He needs to rebuild Chuck in the public eye right now if the fight with Silva is going to sell. Rampage’s next fight will sell itself.

  4. Ivan Trembow says:

    In terms of the biggest fight in MMA history money-wise, neither Liddell vs. Silva nor Rampage vs. Henderson are likely to top the U.S. records set by Liddell-Ortiz II, and certainly not the worldwide records set by Yoshida-Ogawa.

    As for Quinton Jackson being the equivalent of Buster Douglas, that would be a very ignorant thing to say if it was said by that crazy guy on YouTube who hates Rampage. For the president of the company to be saying it is just mind-boggling and continues an inexplicable pattern of disrespecting fighters publicly (“Wanderlei got his head knocked off!” or “Georges St. Pierre is mentally weak!” or “Nobody knows who the hell Shogun is!” or “Patrick Cote’s fight sucked!” or “Josh Koscheck’s fight sucked!” or “Former Pride fighters like Mirko Cro Cop are overrated!” or “Cro Cop’s camp was trying to milk his contract!” — those are the obvious recent examples off the top of my head). This is bizarre because it’s not like there’s an upside and a downside to those kinds of statements. The downsides are obvious, and there’s nothing to be gained from it. It just makes no sense.

  5. Nick says:

    yeah i’d have to disagree with the get a head start on promoting rampage right now, although he is the current ufc light heavyweight champion, we’ve seen how over promoting a fighter in the ufc (George St. Piere) has backfired in their face…so let rampage win over hendo and then start promoting him as that win would mark him as a defined champion and not just a fluke

  6. Ivan Trembow says:

    The Zuffa Myth is also back in the Star-Tribune interview: ” When we bought the company (in 2001), what we did was we took a whole different approach. We didn’t run from regulation. “

  7. David M says:

    Ivan do you have any idea when the PPV numbers for Rampage-Chuck 2 will be released or at least estimated by a 3rd party?

    As for Dana, I think he has gone crazy. I think the Chuck Liddell as new-age Mike Tyson should be officially called “Zuffa Myth #2″. Not only is Chuck not the best guy at 205, but when you call a 218 pound LHW your Mike Tyson, it begs the question of why he isn’t fighting at hw, among other things.

    Fedor is the only guy who can realistically be compared to young Tyson in terms of aura and path of destruction. I am a huge Randy Couture fan, so for his sake, I hope he retires before Fedor goes to the UFC or he will get hurt badly. That man’s G&P is amazing with just fists, if he were allowed to use elbows, and put someone’s head against a cage, watch out!

    Speaking of cage/fence, I watched Bodog on Tuesday night, and saw a very good fight between Nick Thompson and Eddie Alvarez. One thing I immediately noticed was that Bodog uses 5 ropes, whereas I think Pride and K-1 “No Dynamite” were using 4 ropes, which makes it much easier for fighters to fall out of the ring.

    I really think Bodog can compete with the UFC in the future; they have the money, they have a professionally presented product, and they just need a (good) tv deal in America or in Japan/China/South Korea/Russia to get big.

  8. Will says:

    First of all Adam Morgan is on drugs if he thinks Quinton/Henderson could be one of the biggest fights in MMA history. In order to qualify for that, people outside of sites like this have to care. We’re hardcore fans here and we know what this fight means. I’d guess 75% of the people who watched 71 had no clue who Dan is. At least with Rampage there was the prior win over Chuck to rely on. There is no relateable story with Dan.

    I can’t believe that Dana honestly compared Quinton to James Douglas. I sincerely hope he was misquoted.

    On another note however, one thing to keep in mind here is that Quinton doesn’t exactly need tons of help to build a fan base. I’m not sure it’s going to take a lot of work to make him popular. Realistically, if you just schedule interviews for him his personality will do the rest. Chuck was a different story. His look is a big reason he’s so popular. It took a lot of time and money to get him to the point he is now. Dana still has to protect that image. That means he has to continue to put him over as a dominant fighter who can come back and win.

    Liddell was the Tyson of MMA for about two years. Fighters feared him, he knocked out everyone quickly and brutally and gave off an aura of being unbeatable. To the average person, Liddell is an animal that can’t be stopped. Again, hardcore fans knew better and that’s why so many of the pundits here at FO and over at Sherdog and MMA Weekly were having so much difficulty picking a winner in the fight. I know I went back and forth. We all knew what Rampage is capable of and how his style is the worst for Chuck to deal with.

  9. Grape Knee High says:

    Part of the problem with Dana — and I think this might possibly be as much of an advantage as it a liability — is that he is a regular guy, not an executive in a suit who hides behind a business exterior. At heart, he’s a huge fan of MMA in general and the UFC in particular; he’s fiercely loyal to the people who are loyal to him (like Chuck Liddell). He can be magnanimous and generous at times, and a vindictive a-hole at other times.

    Deep down he might have just as many, if not more, marketing opportunities with Rampage as champion, but his heart is clearly with Liddell and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

    What I’m particularly interested in, though, is what everyone thinks about how the UFC is going to deal with marketing MMA in the future, especially as the American fighter base expands outside what has typically been a white, middle-class, college-educated fighter demographic.

    My theory — and I could be completely off-base here– is this: that part of the reason the UFC is popular is because the newer, casual fans can identify with these fighters. They come from regular households, went to college, have regular jobs. A large portion of the white UFC fighters represent middle America, and I think the newer fans gravitate to these fighters naturally. Honestly speaking, white middle America hasn’t had too many opportunities in recent years (other than maybe NASCAR) to really root for athletes in their demographic as foreigners and minorities have really taken most major sports in the US, and I think the UFC gives them that chance.

    As will be the case naturally, and maybe with a little more help from Zuffa, as more Hispanic and black athletes pick up the sport and start climbing the ranks of the elite fighters, how do you market these newer guys without losing the core (white) audience that the UFC has today? Not every minority athlete is as marketable as Rampage.

  10. Jeremy says:

    I think Quentin Jackson is really incredible talent both from a fighting and marketing perspective, but as a whole, UFC has always managed to put coherent, friendly (out of the ring) fighters on their cards. That goes way back, and has been consistent whether the guys have been white, latino, luso, african american, dutch, british or what have you.

    It shouldn’t be at all surprising that latino and african american fighters will be coming into the ranks of the modern UFC in a real competitive way, because these guys have been keeping boxing alive, and they’re fit and want to prove themselves in any arena where they’ll get paid.

    Fortunately, the qualities that we value in UFC fighters in terms of being well spoken and “marketable” are also qualities that you find in most high profile boxers (one notable exception excluded). I think that the discipline instilled by rigorous training tends to iron out personality issues, and guys who can’t keep their aggression in the ring tend to be weeded out early.

    So, really, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. It’s a rare person these days who is so bigoted that they can’t warm to someone on a one on one basis, and UFC does a great job humanizing their fighters.

  11. Jeremy says:

    Apologies to Quinton for my bad speling.

  12. Steve says:

    I have to reply to Will’s attempted rip on Adam Morgan for saying that Hendo/Rampage won’t be one of the biggest matches in history. I don’t see how you can begin to say that it won’t be. First of all when have the two Belt Holdrs, from the two largest MMA orgs, ever met in battle? Yeah it might not be THE biggest, but without a doubt it will be one of the biggest, and why would people outside of these sites not be interested in the two top athletes in the light heavyweight division fighting? I think this will pull very good numbers in terms of ppv buys and if Dana does his job it should get tons of media coverage. How hard is it to sell a clash of champions?

  13. The Citizen says:

    The espn interviewer was a dolt. Grinning sacks of poo. There is nothing mainstream about the mainstream. Its pretty much 1 company routing the message as they see fit. There were way too many Chuck Liddel questions in that interview and not about Quinton, who he is, who he was, and why he is now in the states. After so many shows it is amazing to me that UFC has no clue how to take its talent and really show them in the best light. A re-re-match? LOL!

  14. Ultimo Santa says:

    Chuck Liddell 2012 = Ken Shamrock 2006.

  15. Body_Shots says:

    He isn’t saying Jackson is the equivalent of Douglas, he’s saying Chuck getting KO’d is like Tyson getting KO’d in 1990. In any event, he’s wrong imo.

  16. Tomer Chen says:

    He isn’t saying Jackson is the equivalent of Douglas, he’s saying Chuck getting KO’d is like Tyson getting KO’d in 1990. In any event, he’s wrong imo.

    But part of an accurate analogy between Liddell-Jackson and Tyson-Douglas would require similarly skilled/successful fighters who were longshot underdogs catching the monster champion off guard and stopping him. Whereas Douglas was, at best, a middle-of-the-road fighter (and even that may be a bit of a stretch), Jackson has been a perennial contender for years. Plus, I don’t think the odds were as close to unfavorable to Jackson as it was to Douglas so the size of the upset really isn’t as large as Tyson-Douglas by the overall (gambling) fanbase.

  17. Matt Boone says:

    You already know what’s gonna happen. This will generate the talk it already has, Dana will eventually follow up and claim “knocking Liddell out” was the comparable upset. “How it happened” not that it happened. Although much like Koscheck’s MySpace hacking, I’m not so sure I’ll believe that.

  18. Body_Shots says:

    But part of an accurate analogy between Liddell-Jackson and Tyson-Douglas would require similarly skilled/successful fighters who were longshot underdogs catching the monster champion off guard and stopping him.

    Personally, I don’t believe it’s an accurate analogy at all. But even before the fight Dana talked about Liddell having the same aura Tyson did in his prime (I disagree), Randy did as well. I believe his statements in the tribune were a continuation in that line of thinking. ‘Liddell getting KO’d is like Tyson getting KO’d in 1990′. Of course Dana isn’t the most articulate fellow in the world and it may not have came out like he wanted.

    “For a lot of people that don’t know Rampage, Rampage has knockout power in both hands. He has a great chin and he is a good wrestler. He is a very powerful guy. Stylalistically, it’s a dangerous fight for Chuck…..did you see what he did to Ricardo Arona? He picked him up over his head and slammed him … I mean, the guy is a machine.

    You don’t say that about a guy who think is the equivalent to Buster Douglas.
    UFC president Dana White sounds off
    ^Everyone should read this OC article that went out prior to the fight, White talks about the Tyson aura, the match up style wise and Rampage and Chuck.

  19. Body_Shots says:

    Dana White Compares Rampage To Buster Douglas

    Jeez Louise, he never compared Rampage to anyone.

    Dana White Doesn’t Care About The African-American Market

    “Right now we haven’t even scratched the surface of how big this is going to be in the United States. We haven’t even gone after the Hispanic market.”

    This is why I don’t care for the MMA news media.

  20. Sam Scaff says:

    Um, saying that rampage beating chuck is like buster beating tyson is comparing rampage to buster, at least as far as their chances in the fight and the shock at rampage winning.

    It is utterly ridiculous and another typical example of how far dana white’s head is up his ass. Its just ludicrous to make this comparison. completely and utterly incomprehensible.

    Dana white sounds like he is one of those new UFC fans who doesnt know that any promotion besides UFC exists.

    Anyone who has seen all of quinton’s pride fights knew that should have been considered a very very close fight, odds-wise. I for one picked quinton to win, as did many other people. Nobody..absolutely nobody picked buster douglas to win.

    Dana white is a moron and an embarassment to the sport of MMA. Its too bad he happens to be the president of its biggest organization. I am still in shock that Pride has fallen completely off the planet. It is an absolute shame.

  21. Smoogy says:

    Body_Shots, White clearly made a parallel between Liddell-Jackson and Tyson-Douglas, you can watch the video if you’re skeptical. As for not caring about the African-American market, I think that is still a marginalized storyline, but this particular soundbyte isn’t about race. It just makes them look like they were so sure that Liddell would win that they still haven’t corrected their course in terms of marketing Jackson like they did Liddell. Dana coming out with the Buster Douglas comment, combined with the continued focus on Liddell (he will be on Letterman thursday, FYI) is making them look totally clueless to anyone who knows who Rampage is.

  22. Body_Shots says:

    you can watch the video if you’re skeptical

    I’d love to get a hold of the video.

    As for not caring about the African-American market, I think that is still a marginalized storyline, but this particular soundbyte isn’t about race.

    lol

    …combined with the continued focus on Liddell (he will be on Letterman thursday, FYI) is making them look totally clueless to anyone who knows who Rampage is.

    I’m sure they booked him on Letterman right after the fight.

  23. Ivan Trembow says:

    I did not hear the Jim Rome interview. Did the “Zuffa Myth” re-surface in that interview in addition to the Star-Tribune article? I ask because this was on the Wrestling Observer web site today:

    “More on Dana White on Jim Rome yesterday. He told all the usual stories about how there were only three rules when they bought the company and the previous owners running from regulation. No truth to any of that.”

  24. chairibofjustice says:

    Rome is an idiot. That guy used to love bashing the UFC and MMA, now he’s on that bandwagon riding it for all it’s worth.

  25. 45 Huddle says:

    I read that article on Sherdog.com, and it is so easy to see why they are banned from Zuffa events.

    That article is so misleading it isn’t even funny. Loretta Hunt talks about it 10 times more truthfully. They do mention that FEG was in charge of a lot of the ticket sales, but they don’t mention a FACT, that FEG bought tickets to give them away for free. And that the actual number of fans that actually attended the event, according to a CSAC official is under 20,000.

    The attendance “record” is kind of like when David Arquette won the WCW Heavyweight Title, and the belt automatically became a useless piece of medal.

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