Fighters Only Exclusive:
Wolfslair boss talks Rampage deal
Following our exclusive report that Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson
has signed with the Wolfslair, Fighters Only spoke with gym boss
Anthony McGann to discuss how the deal came about.
“Quinton’s relationship with us started when he was brought over
to the north of England a couple of years ago for a seminar that
fell through. The Wolfslair stepped in and sorted hotel rooms out
for everyone, then let them do the seminar in our academy,” he
“He came over and we did a split camp for when he fought Dan
Henderson... we also had Cheick Kongo with us and we had Mike (Bisping)
fighting Matt Hamill.
“Half the camp was in Big Bear and half was in England. Quinton
and Cheick actually lived with me for a month and we became really
“He’s come to us, one because we are his friends and two because
he knows what a good operation we run. He’s also seen how well Mike
has been performing recently and how well conditioned he has been.
“There is no big conspiracy or anything here, he just wanted a
change in his training situation and he chose us.”
Some have suggested that Jackson won’t be accessing top level
coaching when he trains in the UK, but McGann strongly disputes
“He’s very appreciative of our boxing coach Tony Quigley and his
son Tony Quigley Jr,” he says. Young Tony won a gold medal when he
competed in the Junior Olympics. “He took Young Tony down to London
in the week before the Dan Henderson fight to sharpen his hands,
because Tony is that good.”
“Quinton is also keen to work with the Sukata brothers, who are
the jiu jitsu coaches at Wolfslair. Dave Jackson, our Thai coach,
has spent the most time with Quinton out of all our coaches and
Quinton loves his style of Muay Thai.”
With Jackson being a huge name and elite-level fighter, do the
Wolfslair feel they have the expertise to handle his career from now
on? Absolutely, says McGann.
“Managing Mike over the past few years, we have learned the
business at a breakneck speed,” he explains. “We work very well with
the UFC and in the world of sponsorship we have learned very well
and we can compete with any of the guys in America in terms of
obtaining sponsorship and brokering deals.”
McGann puts the continuing successes of the Wolfslair camp down
to “our humble perspective on things”.
“Me and Lee (Gwynne) are partners in Wolfslair. I do most of the
talking and he is very hands-on with the guys, he does a lot of the
strength and conditioning,” he reveals.
“Lee never trumpets himself as a great strength and conditioning
coach, even though he is. He’s always trying to improve. He spends
every night reading every article he can on improving cardiovascular
fitness and so on.
“And me as a manger, I always have the thought in my head that I
am not the best manager around, which means I am always trying to
improve myself. That goes for everyone of our coaches and fighters.
When you think you are great, you usually aren’t.
“It is the guy who is striving to be great who usually does the
That said, McGann is by no means painting the Wolfslair as some
poor relation to the bigger teams in the mixed martial arts game.
“When Quinton came over for the Dan Henderson camp and he had
Kongo with him and four or five other guys, we were a bit daunted by
this big American team,” he recalls.
“But our guys trained with them, and our guys were taking them
down at will. Quinton said to me “Anthony, you don’t even realise
how strong your team is. Your guys are badass.
“We always thought we were doing a half-decent job but now, when
we compare ourselves to how the Americans are doing it, we seem to
be ahead of the game in terms of management and sponsorship and even
training,” he says.
Signing Rampage is another step on a journey that has seen
Wolfslair grow from a group of friends training together on hired
mats to an emerging force in international MMA.
Since Michael Bisping won series three of The Ultimate Fighter
and won, the team has “grown and grown”.
“We are doing main events regularly, we’re getting top
sponsorship, we have a great relationship with Dana White and Joe
Silva... it’s a fairytale,” laughs McGann.
“We are UFC fans and we started out with MMA as a hobby. Now,
we’re filling UK arenas. And let me tell you, there is nothing like
walking out with one of your guys - 20,000 people going nuts and you
are at the centre of it. It’s a dream come true.”
John Joe O’Regan