Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rising star on a ‘Rampage’

“The difference between me and the guys Chuck’s fought is, I don’t think Chuck can hurt me. I ain’t scared of his punches, I ain’t scared of his knees, but I am scared of his breath. I’m from the street. I’m just gonna go in there and get ’er done.”

The day hadn’t been going great for Quinton Jackson. He’d missed his flight to Memphis, Tenn., because he’d been held up while boarding at the U.S. Air terminal at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. And he wasn’t happy about it.

“My kids got patted down,” he said after returning to his home in Irvine. “I’ve got my three boys with me and my 1-year-old gets patted down.”

The man called Rampage was traveling with his Austrian nanny. Rampage is black. The nanny is white. That was the problem, according to Rampage.

“I want to get a lawsuit going,” he said. “This is 2007. What’s wrong with me having a white nanny? They thought she was my girlfriend. And what’s wrong with having an interracial relationship? They were just rude for no reason. I’m very nice to everybody. There was no reason for them to act that way.”

But -- outside The Octagon, anyway -- the 28-year-old Jackson doesn’t seem like a man that stays mad for long. As the topic turns to the UFC, his impending light heavyweight title fight with Chuck Liddell and his own Christianity, Rampage brightens. And why not? Just a short time ago, he was fighting in Japan, not receiving the type of treatment he felt he deserved. These days, he’s walking into raucous, soldout Las Vegas arenas, doling out some serious punishment, making money, and meeting with prospective sponsors back in his dressing room.

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