Viacom is expected to announce plans to go head-to-head with pay-per-view juggernaut Zuffa LLC and its UFC 168 offering at next week’s Bellator 97 event on Spike TV.
An unveiling of Bellator fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s plans with the promotion will likely include a pay-per-view boxing match with former multi-division boxing champ Roy Jones Jr., multiple sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The fight is expected to take place at the end of the year, though a date and weight class for the bout could not immediately be confirmed. It’s also unclear how the event will be branded given Bellator and parent company Viacom’s focus on MMA.
“We’ve been talking to Roy and his people over a potential ‘Rampage’ vs. Roy fight for over seven months,” a representative from Jackson’s longtime team, Wolfslair MMA, told MMAjunkie.com. The rep requested anonymity due to the ongoing negotiations related to the matchup.
“If it happens, it would be an incredible fight,” the rep said. “Boxing and MMA have both been discussed, and (Bellator Chairman and CEO) Bjorn (Rebney) has been in these discussions every step of the way. I can’t say much more than that. We’ll see what happens.”
Bellator MMA officials declined to comment on the possible event.
Jones, who owns a 56-8 boxing record, recently was in discussions with the UFC for a possible fight with the promotion’s middleweight champ, Anderson Silva, who lobbied for several years to fight the 44-year-old Jones in the squared circle. That, however, was before Silva’s title was ripped from his hands by Chris Weidman, who knocked him out earlier this month at UFC 162. The two are scheduled to rematch Dec. 28 in Las Vegas at UFC 168, which continues the organization’s annual tradition of big year-end cards.
Jackson (32-11 MMA, 0-0 BFC), a former UFC light-heavyweight champion who hasn’t boxed professionally, earlier this year signed a multi-year deal to fight in Bellator and appear as a pro wrestler with TNA Wrestling, in addition to developing a four-part reality show and movie projects with Viacom, which owns a majority stake in the MMA promotion.
Until now, Jackson’s fighting plans remained unknown. The 35-year-old most recently appeared in the UFC octagon, where he fulfilled his contract in a losing effort against Glover Teixeira at UFC on FOX 6 in January. It marked his third consecutive MMA loss.
Jackson blamed his skid on his soured relationship with the UFC and repeatedly expressed a desire to box professionally. During a June press conference announcing his new deal with Bellator, he said he would turn over a new leaf.
“The deal they gave me set me up for the future, and when other fighters really understand this deal they gave me, I think a lot of other fighters that are not happy with their contract in other shows are going to come to Bellator, and the competition is going to come over,” Jackson said.
For the latest on Bellator 97, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Quinton Jackson)