Monday, February 12, 2007

Howl at the Moon - The Tale of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

Chapter 1 – Coming Up
Quinton Jackson was born on June 20th, 1978 in famous Memphis, Tennessee. It was there that Jackson was first introduced to his first career choice, that of amateur wrestling. While attending Releigh Egypt High School, Jackson received all state honors and placed 5th in the Tennessee State wrestling tournament for the 189 lbs division during his senior year. With constant exposure to the Deep South pro-wrestling territories, Jackson originally intended to start a career as a pro-wrestler, but instead continued his amateur career while attending junior college.

It was then that Quinton was first exposed to mixed martial arts, where he noticed that other amateur style wrestlers had some success. Jackson would later comment that he couldn't believe people could get paid to do that type of fighting, as this was something he already felt quite accustomed to doing. With nothing but wrestling training and freestyle street fighting skills, Jackson stepped into an MMA match for the first time on November 13th, 1999 at the International Sport Combat Federation in Memphis. Taking on the also debuting Mike Pyle (who has continued his career and faced named opponents such as Shonie Carter) Quinton Jackson won the fight via judges decision.

From there, Jackson bounced around from organization to organization, scoring another win in California's Huntington Beach Underground Pancrase and debuting in the popular King of the Cage organization just one month later. There, in his 3rd match, Quinton would face the debuting Marvin "The Beastman" Eastman in a two round brawl. Although it was Eastman's first MMA match, he had 15 years of wrestling and kickboxing experience under his belt as well. Although Eastman took the decision in this match, Jackson showed a lot of heart that drew roars from the crowd. Ken Shamrock happened to be commentating during this match, and even he felt that Jackson could be a special fighter with proper training. Jackson was disappointed in his lack of training and immediately asked for a rematch but it was not to be for some time.

Jackson continued to take fights in any organization he could find, racking up wins in the Continental Freefighting Alliance against Ron Rumpf and against Warren Owsley in the Dangerzone promotion. KOTC would be a mainstay in Jackson's career, however, as he returned in November of 2000 to best Rob Smith via a three round decision. From there, Jackson found a second home in the upstart Gladiator Challenge promotion, besting 3 more opponents in a span of about 4 months. Jackson finished the early portion his career with two more wins in April and June of 2001, both in KOTC and at the Gladiator Challenge. Although he had not faced much named competition, Jackson had racked up an impressive 11-1 record in just under 1 year.

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