Take this for what it's worth but this, on several levels, is the exact opposite of the result that the Zuffa's and Dana White wanted.
Quinton Jackson is not nearly as marketable a commodity as Chuck Liddell is. Quinton Jackson isn't going to be appearing on TV shows coast-to-coast the way that Liddell has. He won't be making guest appearances on HBO's "Entourage". He won't be on "Regis and Kelly" either.
Why not? Well maybe you hadn't noticed, but Rampage Jackson is black.
Now those who know me know that I'm not normally one to "play the race card". And frankly, as a black man born and bred in Canada, I haven't often wanted to or needed to. But I think it bears some brief acknowledgement that the UFC is not a pure athletic entity. This is not solely about the best facing the best.
This is about the almighty American dollar. What fight will sell and which fighters will sell it. And for the general public in America, the UFC has been providing something that boxing hasn't over the past several years: The Great White Hope.
America hasn't given a shit about heavyweight boxing since the freakshow that was Mike Tyson, came to an end...possibly as early as the Buster Douglas debacle, but defintiely with the Lennox Lewis loss.
Here's how the marketing works in the United States, and if you don't believe me, then you've either not lived in the States (like I have), not paid attention (like I have) or are just blind to fact...
Top tier - white athletes.
Second tier - a good freak show
Third tier - black or hispanic athletes depending on the sport and/or region
Fourth tier - whoever lost the debate in the third tier
Fifth tier - women atheletes
After that it's Asians, Native Americans and penguins who can sing and dance in animated form.
And I'm not just pinning something on the UFC here. I'm sure the UFC will do it's utmost to push Jackson. They have to. He's their lightheavyweight champ. And they want to make money off his title fights.
But I'll say this. The UFC is just as fixed as pro wrestling. It's all in the way you choose who will fight who. Sure there's a much larger element of "shoot" in something like the UFC but Bart Gunn wasn't supposed to win the WWF's Brawl For All either. That was supposed to go to Steve Williams. Accidents happen. Marketing covers for accidents.
Watch from here on in who Jackson's opponents are. I bet, and don't mistake this for anger or reverse racism, this is just observation... I bet that Jackson doesn't get a non-white opponent anytime soon. If he does, the man will be hispanic. Because if the UFC wants to grow its product and take hold in "mainstream America", they won't do it with their most popular title around the waist of a man who, based solely on skin color, the general public and more importantly, MADISON AVENUE will reject.
So ends the sermon...