The Ultimate Actor: Rampage Screwed Rashad, His Fans, and the UFC

The Ultimate Actor: Rampage Screwed Rashad, His Fans, and the UFC


(Get casting on the horn and find out if Forrest Griffin is busy this winter.
("Get casting on the horn and find out if Forrest Griffin is busy this winter."

(Get casting on the horn and find out if Forrest Griffin is busy this winter.)

By FIGHT! contributor Larry Pepe

Who can forget Dana White’s famous, “Do you want to be a fu*#!ng fighter,” speech during the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter? You know the one, when Dana puts the guys in check by explaining that they need to focus on fighting and not get sidetracked by the fame that might come with it.

How ironic that four and a half years and nine seasons later, Dana probably should have reenacted that speech. Only this time it should have been with Season 10 TUF coach, Quinton Jackson, after “Rampage” made the decision to abandon his headlining role at December’s UFC 107 in favor of channeling his inner Mr. T to play B.A. (“Bad Attitude”) Baracus in the upcoming feature film “The A-Team.”

“Rampage” isn’t the first big name fighter to score a significant role in a major film. He’s just the first to blow up a major PPV card built on three months of television programming because of it.

Randy Couture joined the biggest action stars in the biz in Sly Stallone’s “The Expendables” and Gina Carano will play the lead in Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller, “Knockout.” But they didn’t put their desire to act in front of any prior commitments to MMA. Neither did GSP, BJ, Rashad, Forrest or a host of other fighters who have appeared in films and television shows. If Roger Huerta wants to leave MMA altogether to pursue his thespian goals, more power to him. He fulfilled his contract. Good luck to you, Roger.

But “Rampage”’s situation, sorry, I mean B.A.’s situation, is different. A lot different.

UFC 107 was to be the culmination of months of drama, trash talk and disdain that we’ll watch unfold this season. Now we don’t even know when they fight will happen because B.A. will need to finish shooting, get back in shape and have a full camp. The film is due to be released on June 11, 2010, so don’t be surprised if marketing 101 lands it in that time frame. Can you say anti-climactic? Whether February, June or some other time, the TUF-fueled momentum is gone. Bad for the fans, the UFC and the poor guy who’s been trying to edit all the references to settling the score in December out of the show. Thanks, B.A.

Then there’s the issue of honoring your commitments. I’ve heard a report that B.A. never signed a contract to fight Rashad. Really? Are you telling me that the incredibly business savvy trifecta of Dana White and the Ferttita brothers booked a major PPV event in Memphis, Tennessee without a commitment from the one main eventer who calls Memphis home? Seriously? They planned on promoting this mega grudge match for three months with every weekly episode of TUF without an agreement? Sorry, I just don’t buy it. And signed agreement or not, when B.A. turned down Machida to coach on TUF, he knew, like we all knew, that he’d be facing Rashad in the first PPV following the conclusion of the show.

And what precedent is set by this latest turn of events? What if GSP grew up watching “Spiderman” and director Sam Raimi decides he’d make a perfect lead in the fourth installment of the film but he’s set to headline UFC 111? How does the UFC say no after letting B.A. walk from 107? Wouldn’t GSP ask why it was permissible for B.A. but not him? Might some bitterness set in? It’s a very slippery slope. And as MMA continues to grow, those opportunities are likely to come up with greater frequency. Is fighting a priority or simply expendable once the bigger, better deal, (in the fighter’s mind) comes along?

I recognize that there is a potential benefit of bringing more fans into MMA after they see what I’m guessing will be a solid performance by Rampage on the big screen.

Still can’t get with the move.

Neither can his boss, who went on the Dave and Mahoney Show just two days before the TUF season premiere and confessed that he isn’t even talking to B.A. right now.
“I hate it, I hate it so bad I can’t even tell you how bad I hate it. I’m so mad at Rampage over this. And for him to do this to me and to pull out and do this goofy A-Team movie man, I’m not happy about it all…They’re not paying him jack. He’s giving up literally millions of dollars to play Mr. T. If you think he’s going to go in there and say, ‘I pity the fool,’ and he’s going to become a huge serious actor off that role, gimme a friggin’ break…Rampage is somebody I consider a friend, he put me in a bad position and I’m not happy about it. He hurt himself, he hurt us. I don’t even want to talk to him right now. Lorenzo’s talking to him, not me.”
Dana doesn’t sound like a guy who made a decision that the exposure of “this goofy A-Team movie” was worth screwing up his main event at UFC 107, does he?

And he has every right to be livid.

Let’s not forget that when B.A. went on a rampage barely a year ago, the promotion was about as supportive as they could have been. Dana flew in to help his friend bailed him out of jail and then helped him get back on his feet. And his spot on the roster was never in question. Thanks, UFC. Next, they put him on the biggest card of the year against Wanderlei Silva, the guy he desperately wanted redemption against after suffering two devastating losses to him in Pride. He got his redemption and a big payday. Thanks, UFC. He’s also been put on TUF twice even though he’s more of an entertaining character than a great coach. What am I saying? He’s neck and neck with Ken Shamrock for worst TUF coach ever. (“Get up, Abe!” Groundbreaking.) Thanks, UFC. He’s loaded his bank account with the promotion’s money and they’ve given him the very worldwide platform that led A-Team producers to his door. Thanks, UFC.

The UFC deserved better, much better, from B.A. And so did the fans.


  1. Great article. Agree with the whole thing and then some. Now Rashad is on the shelf, title shots are potentially affected. Rampage is nothing but selfish and arrogant to think the UFC schedule revolves around him and what he wants to do. I laughed at what a joke he is when there was some reference to the fight on TUF last week. Screw him.

  2. maybe he realizes that he cant make a living fighting forever… maybe he needs to expand his oppertunitys…. good article… but lay off the stars just cuz u get your name published by talking bout famous people… so what life goes on… let em be

  3. Josh I’m with you on looking out for opportunities after fighting. So let him go do whatever he wants after he fulfills his obligation to fight Rashad at 107. Like the article said, they booked it there in his hometown and invested in Rampage by putting him on TUF. Would it be OK if Tom Brady wanted to bag the playoffs to do a movie? UFC fighters are pro athletes and should honor their profession just like other athletes.

  4. I’m a true “Rampage” fan, But I won’t be seeing him as B.A., and I woul’nt have him as my coach. I don’t even believe he had winning on his mind when he picked his team, It seemed more like facetime. The coaches I know lead by example…Quint just set a really sorry one.

  5. im all for advancing your career and making your $$$ but that was a crappy way to bow out

  6. Wow you’ve got some nerve! Is Mr. Dana going to pay for Rampage’s medical expenses when his career is over? Will he give him residuals, like this film will? Rampage and Huerta and every fighter puts their lives and health at risk everytime they enter the octagon. Think about the multiple concussions and closed head injuries they suffer? Demetia pugilistica anyone??? He made the best decision in his life by taking a major motion picture role.

  7. I am sorry, but I love Rampage and am from Memphis, with that said, in life you are only as good as your word and you need to live up to your commitments.

    What is the definition of ‘selfish’? Rampage is being a complete selfish a-hole for pulling out of this fight. The UFC sank a lot of marketing dollars, and booked a venue in Memphis, because of Rampage Jackson. Now they have an event, that is essentially ruined because of Rampage. An entire event, that cost hundred of thousands to get together, is ruined because of Rampage.

    Not to mention he is screwing Dana and the relationship they had. Thats a helluva bridge to burn, and I think he is being very shortsighted in this. Its a great opportunity, but it def doesnt guarantee a future in acting. Jackson should have made sure he could fulfill his commitment and still take the role, if he couldnt, he should have taken the fight. You dont screw the company that stood by you during your felony charges and made you an international star.

    Rampage is being shortsighted and frankly dumb as hell for doing this.

  8. Dana didn’t make him sign the contract.. Dana’s bad. Tough.

    Rampage doesn’t matter anyway (from this fan’s point of view), Machida will smoke him like a fine cuban cigar.

    Dana won’t cut him = Rampage can do what he wants.

    You think any amount of kissing a** would have saved Thales Leites.

  9. You think Dana White cares about how much money he’s costing Anderson Silva by not letting him fight Roy Jones Jr. It’s business. You think Anderson Silva cares about making the UFC land Dana look bad when he loses to RJJ. If Rampage loses enough Dana will dump him like yesterday’s garbage – Rampage owes him nothing. ‘Selfish’.. please, it’s how it is.

  10. Kimbo Slice would have been a better B.A. Baracus – he’s a better actor too (check out his speaking role in Blood and Bone… Rampage’s one line in that train thing was atrocious).

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