As most of you know, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has reached a plea bargain agreement in regards to the charges brought against him from the summer incident he was involved with. I'm not a prophet by any means, but this outcome is what I pretty expected and spoke on here. I think he and the UFC dodged a major bullet with this outcome, and both have come out relatively unscathed as long as Rampage holds up his end of the agreement. So now we will probably see Rampage challenge Rashad Evans to try and regain the UFC LHW crown that he lost at UFC 86. So with that said I want to speak on something more broad than just this incident in particular.
The reality of it all is this. Athletes from all different walks of life get caught up in negative publicity every single year. Whether it's Rae Carruth, Plaxico Burress, Ron Artest, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, John Daley, or Rampage Jackson. Can these types of situations be avoided? Certainly. Will they continue to happen? Definitely.
What erks me is every time something negative happens within the MMA world, we always become paranoid about how people will view our sport. Which is a natural reaction I suppose when you look at the history and nature of our sport. What we fail to understand is our sport is just like any other sport in that things are going to happen as our athletes are human just like everyone else. While I would like for everyone to keep the same mind set in that we should always think about what is best for our sport. I also want us to realize that our sport has arrived, it's not a fad, and it's not going anywhere. The only thing that can hinder our sport from excelling is the sport itself.
The day that our sport fails to produce a quality product is the day our sport will be in trouble. It's the same for the other sports as well. As mentioned earlier, the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL have all endured many negative acts as a result of the athletes that participant in those sport leagues. Those leagues have continued to remain viable. However, when those same sports/leagues failed to produce a quality product(MLB strike, NBA hold out etc) is when those sports suffered the most.
MMA will be no different.