Prior to Bellator 97, rumors had been swirling that former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-11 MMA) would be making his Bellator debut in a boxing match opposite former multi-division champ Roy Jones Jr. (56-8).
When Rampage took to the cage at Bellator 97, many anticipated it would be to announce that he would meet Jones Jr. in a boxing match on pay-per-view later this year.
However, Jackson pulled a surprise and made the following statement:
“I’m happy to be back here on Spike TV. I’m training hard, man. I’m back motivated and I found my love for MMA again. Now I’m with a reputable company that knows how to treat his fighters. It’s on! I’m down to fight Roy. I’m a big fan of his. I’m a big fan of that man. He’s one of the best boxers of his time. But for my first fight in Bellator, I want it to be an MMA fight – and I’m going to be fighting this man coming out right now.”
With that, Tito Ortiz’s walkout music began playing and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” emerged with his trademark flag over his shoulder to announce that he had in fact signed with Bellator.
During a Monday call with media members in support of the fight, Rampage talked about how Tito ruined his plans:
“When Tito signed, I went, ‘Damn – there goes my Roy Jones fight.’ But I think that the Jones fight will come around eventually after Tito and I fight. If everything goes according to plan, I’m sure the fight is going to to happen because Jones is very interested in fighting me.”
Ortiz, whose most recent cage appearance came at UFC 148 in July 2012, joked: “I didn’t mean to,” when asked about butting Jones out of the way.
“I come here and I fight someone who no one knows, and all of a sudden, people are like, ‘Tito’s getting a gimme fight,’” Ortiz said. “I don’t want no gimme fight. My whole career, I’ve always fought the top five in the world. I’ve always tried to be shut down, and sometimes I shut those people up, or I walk away with a close loss. But I always came out and put on a show. When I came out here, I didn’t want an easy fight.”
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