UFC 130 Results: Rampage Jackson's Fading Star

Photo by Scott Petesen via MMA Weekly.

With the right opponent Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is one of the UFC's biggest stars. His UFC 114 non-title fight headliner against Rashad Evans sold more than 1 million pay per views. But Rampage lost that fight. And many believe he should have lost his next fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 123. More importantly only half that many fans paid up to see Jackson face off against a fellow ex-champ.

Now he's had a lackluster win over Matt Hamill at UFC 130 and while we don't know yet how many people ordered the show, we can safely bet that it was fewer than ordered UFC 123 and only a fraction of the number that bought UFC 114.

The critics have been hard on Jackson. Our own Leland Roling said that Rampage's stock declined after beating Hamill. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! was even harsher:

As Jackson walked to his locker room, he turned to a group of reporters and asked, "Was it that bad?"

It was, providing a dismal ending to a lackluster card. 
...
While Hamill was more responsible for the dull bout, Jackson as the marquee fighter and bigger name deserves more than his share of it.

He wasn't in great condition and he didn't seem like he had the killer instinct that helped make him one of the most popular fighters in the world. A bout against the highly regarded Jones would clearly motivate him, but the time has come for Jackson to show the Rampage side of him more often.

SBNation's Luke Thomas saw things through a more positive lens:

The UFC did Jackson a big favor with this Hamill fight. The UFC doesn't hand out tune-up fights and likely did not intend to here, but that's the effect it's going to have. Rampage was able to get 15 minutes of valuable experience against a fighter who had no hope of winning. He was able to work out the kinks in his timing, combinations, cornering footwork and more. If his hand heals quickly and he's able to fight again soon (potentially a title shot, according to UFC President Dana White), this Hamill fight should be looked at as valuable experience for future endeavors against a higher class of opponent.

While that's very true from a sporting perspective, it's irrelevant from a casual fan perspective. Casual fans don't like paying $54.95 to see a tune up bout as a headliner. Also, given the incredible athleticism, youth and size of UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, it seems likely that Jackson could have any number of tune up fights to prepare and not significantly improve his chances of winning that fight. 

Somehow the UFC and Jones' management have managed to blow a Rashad Evans vs Jon Jones title fight which leaves Rampage as the likely next in line. Given Jackson's age, admitted lack of interest in MMA and the already overwhelming betting odds in Jones' favor, something tells me that Jones vs Rampage won't be doing the same numbers that Jones vs Evans would have done.

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