Forget about that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (pictured) vs. Roy Jones Jr. nonsense. During Wednesday’s Bellator 97 event, it was announced Rampage will make his Bellator MMA debut against fellow former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz on November 2.
The event, which takes place inside Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, California, marks Bellator’s debut in the pay-per-view pond. It is currently unknown what the show’s price tag will be.
“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born,” Rampage said. “My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see November 2 will be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen.
“Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did. But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now, and it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”
Rampage signed a multi-year deal with Bellator and TNA Impact Wrestling last month on the heels of a three-fight losing skid in the UFC. Ortiz’s addition to Bellator was a complete shock to the MMA world. The 38-year-old retired after losing to Forrest Griffin last July at UFC 148, just hours after he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“I’m back,” Ortiz stated. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with [UFC president Dana White]. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free.
“I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the ‘People’s Champion.’”
“The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” (I refuse to acknowledge Ortiz as “The People’s Champ” because everybody knows only The Rock can don that moniker), hung up his gloves with just a 16-11-1 record, having gone only 1-7-1 over the last seven years.
Rampage hasn’t fared much better during the twilight of his career. The controversial slugger owns a respectable 32-11 professional record, but went just 7-5 under the UFC’s watch.