It was ten years ago that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson challenged a veteran kickboxer in Cyril “Marseille Bad Boy” Abidi at K-1 Fukuoka 2002. Man, that didn’t make any sense.
It feels like a lifetime ago.
Back then, in a seventeen-fight MMA career, Quinton Jackson was mostly known being a colorful character, hitting some nasty slams and showing remarkable tenacity. Along the way he racked up wins in regional MMA action, especially King of the Cage and Gladiator Challenge. He marched to the cage with a chain around his neck, barked and howled like a dog, and tossed opponents like rag dolls.
In 2001, Jackson’s big break with PRIDE had him go against Kazushi Sakuraba, the Japanese promotion’s biggest star — where he would surprise with a strong showing, tossing the legend around before succumbing to a choke. The former street kid seemed to find an unlikely niche with the Japanese crowds, and went on victory in three of his next four bouts there, his only defeat a DQ loss in a bout he was dominating.
But now, in a K-1 kickboxing ring, he was totally out of his element. Here was a crude MMA fighter, (reportedly in and out of homelessness) who was mostly known for his wrestling skills, and he was fighting a proven kickboxing veteran in a kickboxing bout.
Cyril “Marseille Bad Boy” Abidi was 14-5 as a kickboxer with almost all of his experience coming at the sport’s greatest stage, K-1. Among his career highlights were stopping Peter Aerts twice, who is still widely considered among the greatest heavyweights of all time. In 2000, Abidi reached the K-1 World Grand Prix final in Yokohama by defeating both Aerts and Ray Sefo by T/KO on the same night.
PRIDE and K-1 were hugely popular fighting circuits in the early 2000’s. Both filled the Tokyo Dome in the era. To pit their stars against one another made great sense to promoters and fans. It didn’t seem to make as much sense to fighters, who had toiled to succeed in one discipline – why risk your reputation in another?
But there we were.
And ten years later, here we are.
The bout between boxing legend Roy Jones, Jr. and Quinton Jackson which has been reportedly scheduled for December just doesn’t really make much sense. It made no sense when Anderson Silva proposed it, either.
Except that unlike Silva, Jackson isn’t really a title contender anymore…
… and, that Jackson is splitting time as a pro wrestler and actor…
… and, oh yeah… funny enough, he knocked Abidi senseless that night in Fukuoka. (He also won their K-1 rematch.)
I don’t know. It’s “Rampage.” Somehow, it sounds about right.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is just one of those characters in the fight game. He doesn’t always do what makes sense. So, this spectacle in December isn’t really a shock to all of us. Maybe, it’s really more of the same.