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Jun 13th
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Home MMA Can Rampage break thru and become a full fledged actor?
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Can Rampage break thru and become a full fledged actor?

rampage_jacksonQuinton “Rampage” Jackson. One of the most dangerous knock out artists in all of mixed martial arts. He can knock you head off with a brutal hook or have it rolling of laughter with his witty and goofy sense of humor. Rampage over the years has provided us with some of the most jaw dropping and hilarious moments in the sport. No one can forget the moment he came bursting into the fight scene in Japan with his vicious power bomb knockout of Ricardo Arona. Though he was on the receiving end of two knock out losses, his two fights with Wanderlei Silva in Pride will be forever etched in time as an epic battle people will talk about for years to come. On the other side of the spectrum, Rampage has made all of us laugh and cry, well cry of laughter that is. From dancing in the streets of England showing off his fresh dance moves, to giving a yellow card to a referee in his match against Mikhael Illoukhine at Pride 26, Rampage never has failed to deliver a chuckle or two to his fans. The moments of random hilarity have endeared fans to him, while many have been physically turned on. Case in point, the recent female reporter that interviewed Rampage and got groped on in return. All jokes aside, recent memories still fresh in our minds are his KO victories over Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and his close lost to Forrest Griffin. With the 10th season of the Ultimate Fighter being shown on television and an upcoming date with Rashad Evans, it’s as if we have more than enough of a Rampage fix.

That fix though is something that will be short lived, despite all the memories he has given us, Rampage announced a few weeks back on his website that he is done with the in-cage battles. No more taking shots to the dome, no more coaching gigs on The Ultimate Fighter and horrid training camps in England. He is making a switch to do battle on the golden screen, in basic bullshit terms, the fool is done fighting. He’s packing his shit and saying adios. Unbeknownst to many in the mma community Rampage was offered the role as A.B Baracus in the remake of the 80’s hit TV series The A-Team. Following in the foot steps of Mr. T seems like a natural fit for Jackson, but why the sudden retirement?  He surely could of done both right? Jackson blames it on UFC president Dana White and recent comments he has made regarding the situation. White has gone on record saying that “For him (Rampage) to do this to me, and pull out of UFC 107 and do this goofy A-Team, I’m not happy at all.” The UFC president has been condescending when questioned about the situation, mocking the fighter’s enthusiasm over doing the film because it held sentimental value in terms of evoking fond memories of himself and his father watching it together as a youth. I’ll let you in on the real reason why Rampage left the UFC, the same thing me, you and any other clear headed individual would have done in this situation. It’s all about that cash money baby.

You really think Quinton Jackson quit the UFC because Dana White criticized him about taking this movie role? It’s not like Rampage hasn’t done movies before, he’s been in three to date, (Confessions of a Pit Fighter, The Midnight Meat Train and Never Surrender) you can argue that these were minor roles, and that the casting as A.B. Baracus would take a lot more time and commitment on Rampage’s part. I’m sure the UFC would be more than willing to work with Jackson on finding a middle ground so he can still fight and do acting on the side. So why didn’t that scenario play out before our eyes? Rampage ain’t no foo, as his soon to be on screen character would say. If I had the choice between proposition A, which is getting hit in the head repeatedly, risking becoming punch drunk by the time I’m 50 due to a career of fighting and getting paid under 250,000 dollars or proposition B, which is not training at all, not having to worry about eating carne asada fries (which are by the way) at 2 am in the morning and schmoozing with Hollywood celebs for more than two million dollars; you tell me what you would of chosen. It was a clear business decision. Rampage doesn’t have to worry about getting hit no more, because this movie and a subsequent acting career is going to make him more money that a UFC career could ever provide him and its a lot safer as well.

Superstar athletes becoming full time actors is something that we have come accustomed to lately. For some it has worked, for others it didn’t work too well.  Rampage has a blue print to follow, but his real gamble though is will he have the moxie to cut it as a successful working actor in Hollywood. If he succeeds or fails it’s good for him either way, as it helps build the rampage brand and yes when you are a public figure you become a brand. The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson was able to make a successful transition from professional wrestling to the acting world, headlining many box office hits. His popularity in the sphere of professional wrestling brought many of his fans to see him which contributed to his success. Steve Austin, the beer touting mayhem causing pro-wrestler also made a successful transition to acting. Though he hasn’t headlined movies like The Rock he has found consistent work. Other athlete-actor success stories include Carl Weathers, and the crown jewel of all cross over stories, Arnold Schwarzenegger. So what can Rampage take from all this. One is he can be comfortable knowing that his current fan base can and probably will help him gain box office success with this upcoming movie and subsequent ones. That’s very apparent when analyzing both The Rock’s and Steve Austin’s initial success in Hollywood. All of the actors mentioned were cast in action movie roles, something that fit well with each of their physically demanding previous occupations. Rampage pretty much has two nods going for him at this point. His already established loyal fan base and his physical shape which translates well on the big screen. There have been other athletes though that have tried to make a transition into film and entertainment and have not met much success.

The most recent athlete was Floyd Mayweather Jr. Though he did not retire to pursue acting he did step away to pursue projects in the entertainment industry. Pretty Boy Floyd made appearances on Dancing With The Stars, various commercials and stepping into the WWE ring. Though it was short lived, in two years time he returned to the ring. Hulk Hogan vigorously pursued an acting career over the years but could never really gain a mainstream foothold with audiences. Many of his movies were box office bombs despite the fact that his popularity was at mythical proportions in the mid 80’s and 90’s. Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant centers in NBA history has made repeated attempts to pursue acting, starring in the horrid torture film known as Kazaam in 1996 and recent attempts at a reality show a few months back on ABC. All these athletes at one point or another attempted to leave their sport to pursue acting and managed to come back. Why were these groups of athletes not successful like the Rock’s and Arnold’s mentioned? For one, to be brutally honest they sucked. Hulk Hogan and Shaq had to be some of the worst actors to grace the big screen. Did you ever see Kazaam? It was like getting kicked in the nuts repeatedly. Ever see Suburban Commando? Tar and feather me now please! As far as Floyd Mayweather Jr. is concerned, people just don’t like him. He has a horrible, cocky personality. In every single clip you see of him he is either acting like a total douche or bragging about how he has this and this type of car paid off. People hate him because of it and this type of attitude usually doesn’t gravitate fans toward you. Do you know of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fan? I’m sure some do exist but no one is happily coming out and letting everyone know as well. Now why do you think he’s back boxing again? If Rampage is really serious about this transition he needs to take notes on these two groups of people,

So will Rampage make it? This author seems to think so. He has the fan base of the UFC that will help push the up-coming A-Team movie into a success. He has an athletic build in the same mold of The Rock and Steve Austin that will make him competitive for action films and roles that call for someone of this type. He has an engaging enough personality that if he is able to translate his sense of humor and randomness on screen it can be well received by audiences that are not familiar with him. If they like him you will see Rampage become a big thing over the next few years. The dude is funny, so was the rock, so is Austin and Schwarzenegger. So he has some natural characteristics that are already going for him. The key thing though is Rampage is going to have to be self critical and look at his performance. If he sucks, the fans are going to let it known he sucks and Rampage can’t just brush it off. He is going to have to come to terms that he sucks and put in the time to get better so he doesn’t become another Shaq or Hulk Hogan. Judging by the three other movie appearances he’s made, he has a long ways to go. Individuals very rarely get out of their comfort zones, Rampage is in a new element, one in which the soothing sounds of a roaring crowd are all but gone. No more cages and slipping punches, he’s dealing with a new type of foe; That of the Hollywood media machine. He going to have be dealing with paparazzi, screaming agents and media critics. You’d think that someone who fought in cages in a previous job would be able to handle all that right? We will have to wait and see.                

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