Mixed martial arts legend Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has made allegations that he was set up to get arrested in 2001 so that his teammate Chris Brennan could face Kazushi Sakuraba instead.
In a recent interview, Jackson told the story of how he was contacted on short notice to face Sakuraba for Pride FC in Japan. Jackson claims he was contacted just two weeks before and was offered double his usual pay, which he accepted.
However, just before leaving for Japan, Jackson was arrested at the airport by police who somehow knew he was not allowed to leave the country due to legal troubles from an incident in college. Jackson believes this was not a coincidence.
According to Jackson, his teammate Chris Brennan had looked into his background and tipped off police that Jackson was violating his probation by leaving the country. This allowed Brennan to step in and take the high-profile clash against Sakuraba himself.
Jackson cried in the back of the police car as he realized he was being set up and would miss out on the biggest payday of his career up to that point. Pride and Jackson’s management ended up bailing him out of jail so he could still make the trip and face Sakuraba.
After returning, Jackson cut ties with Brennan and left their gym. He believes Brennan betrayed him in order to get the opportunity to fight a legend like Sakuraba in Pride, as he revealed on Jaxxon podcast.
Neither Brennan nor any other parties have confirmed Jackson’s version of events. However, the circumstances seem suspicious and Jackson stands by his belief that his teammate wronged him.
The Rampage Jackson arrest story illustrates the cutthroat nature of matchmaking in MMA during the early days. Fighters today still face promotional politics, but betrayals of this level are now rare in the sport.