The pale blue cover of the paperback book has creases running all through it. There’s no secret that this book was well loved and read furiously. A lot of care had been taken to preserve it. However, with an inexperienced reader at the helm, sometimes pages would become dog-eared and the cover would be bent back.
As each word became instilled in his brain, Julian “Julz the Jackal” Rabaud was engaging in a life lesson. He just didn’t know it yet, but this book would dictate who he would become as a fighter, as a showman and as a person.
“I dropped out of school when I was in grade nine and I’ve only ever read two books in my entire life,” Rabaud confessed to Combat Press. “I was never really academically inclined and reading wasn’t exactly my forte, but the first book that I did pick up and buy and read was called This Is Gonna Hurt by Tito Ortiz. And I’m happy to say that it was one of the only books I’d ever picked up and finished reading in my whole entire life. In that book, there was something that didn’t quite click with me at the time, and I didn’t think that it’d be an impact in my life, but it said, ‘People are gonna hate you, people are gonna love you and people are gonna talk about you. They’re gonna talk good and they’re gonna talk bad.’ He said that when people talk about you, everything is perfect, and he said that when people aren’t talking about you at all, then you’ve got fuckin’ big problems.
“I remember the whole book. It was right before I went to MMA—I was still fiddling around with Muay Thai and stuff—and I think that the book had an impact on me subliminally and I didn’t even know it. I probably chose my mentality in the sport to be like Tito Ortiz’s mentality after reading that book. That quote that he said is so fuckin’ true.”
When that book was written, social media was nowhere near as big as it is today. Now, the fight game relies on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else the flavor of the month is for fighters to communicate with fans and for promotions to hype shows.
Social media can often be a double-edged sword for fighters. For every fan who cheers on a fighter, there will always be the detractors not that far behind them. This is something that Rabaud knows all too well, especially with his outspoken demeanor. Recently, he has encountered a whole new group of people who want nothing more than to see him fail. Rabaud, though, doesn’t let them get to him. Instead, he questions their true motives.
“What is hate?” Rabaud asked. “I think hate—and a lot of people say this, as well as a lot of great philosophers—they will talk about how hate and love are so alike and they’re the most passionate and powerful emotions in the world. They even say that it’s almost impossible to hate somebody and that it’s almost impossible to love somebody, and if we do, how do we separate the two? The funny thing is that most of the time hate comes from envy.
“Especially in my circumstances at the moment, the people that are pointing the finger at me don’t know me. They don’t know my middle name. Half of them don’t even know my last name. They don’t know who I am or where I’m from, and they don’t know who I am as a real person or what I’m about to do and what I’m here for—nobody knows that—and these are the people that hate me.
“People that know me, they don’t hate me at all, and it’s proof right there that if people that don’t know you are gonna hate you, they are green. They are envious green, and that’s exactly what this is. You don’t just hate someone for no fuckin’ reason unless you envy what they have, who they are are. Another thing is it takes one person to envy you and it attracts more people who will band together like this little army because they’re so weak as one, they all have to get together and lean on each other and hide behind each other to put their hand up. It only takes that one person to be the first to say, ‘I don’t like him,’ and then you find all these others hovering around saying, ‘Me too! Me too!’ The more people they get, the more people are gonna jump into that circle, because they’re more powerful in a group. That’s how they feel, and do you know what that tells me? It tells me they’re fuckin’ weak, and to think right now there’s a bunch of people hating on me for no fuckin’ reason, because of my successes and because of what I’ve done, because of who I am, because all the talk and the hype is always about me. Yeah, it must be frustrating for the poor guys. Half these guys are going out and training their asses off and winning fights, and nobody is talking about them. And here I am, six months down the track from my last loss, and six months later they’re still talking about it and they’re still talking about me.
“Who the fuck does that make me? Who am I then? I’m a pretty fucking big deal. Yeah, I’d be pissed off if I was the best thing and I’m training hard and every fucking night I come home and I see a picture of ‘Julz the Jackal’ on my fuckin’ news feed and there’s always someone talking about ‘Julz the Jackal.’ Yeah, I’d hate him too, cause where’s my fuckin’ love? Where’s my fuckin’ shine? Where’s my fuckin’ fame? They build themselves off my name, off what I’ve done. My loss, the lowest part of my career, is higher and bigger than these guys’ high points.
“Here at my lowest point, I’m talked about more than their high points. That’s why they’re upset. Of course, they’re upset. I hit a high point and I blew up, and then I hit a low point and got even bigger, and I’m coming back with another high point. And it scares them. It scares the shit out of them because there was no reason for me to be great before. There was none at all, besides what was in my heart.
“Now, they’re giving me even more of a reason. They’re giving me even more fuckin’ fire and more confidence to get up every single morning and go to that fuckin’ gym. They try and try and try to bring me down. For six months, they’ve been trying to bring me down and people are trying to make jokes and all of that, but they can’t even touch me. It hypes me. It builds me.
“You know what? If they were smart, my name wouldn’t even be in their mouth. They would pretend that I didn’t exist—that would really upset me. I’d be like, ‘Hey, I’m over here! Hey, I’m over here!’ They posted this thing of me the other day, this promotion, a show that I’d never even fought on, and I’m gonna drop the name—it was Adam from Roshambo. I don’t even know him and he’s dropped some joke on Facebook trying to tease me and rip on my loss. The thing is, they weren’t talkin’ about Ben [Nguyen]’s win. They weren’t talking about the guy that beat me. Even though I lost, they were all talking about me.
“I’m taking shine away from the guys who are winning when I’m losing. What does that tell ya? These people hate me. I don’t know why and I really don’t care, they can keep on hating me. It doesn’t fucking matter. At the end of the day, they’re talking about me and they keep talking about me. Everyone wants to fight me, and do you know why? Because they can’t make it themselves. There ain’t no other name like me. There ain’t no fucking fighter like me. There ain’t no mouth like me. There ain’t no achiever like me. There ain’t no succeeder like me. And that’s why they want me. There’s guys that wanna fight me, and it’s because they know. They know I’m back and I’m about to be bigger than I ever fuckin’ was.”
Despite the passion of Rabaud’s words, the seven-fight veteran doesn’t have any plans to fight again for the remainder of 2014. He is now signed exclusively with Australia’s oldest fight promotion, XFC. It’s not that common for fighters in Australia to sign exclusive contracts, but Rabaud feels that as far as career moves go, this was the best one for him.
“I just signed a three-fight contract with XFC, and I’m looking forward to it,” Rabaud explained. “You know, at 66 [kilos], they’re holding some of the best fighters now. Justin Lawrence is owning some of the best fighters at 66 kilos now. I think he has the best guys. He has the overseas connections. He’s done it all before and put the boys in the right direction. He’s had the names like Hector Lombard, Kyle Noke and Brian Ebersole. He’s had all the best and he’s proved himself. He’s a good guy and he knows what he is doing. The show has this atmosphere to it, and I’ve been to the show before and I knew that night that I wanted to fight on the show one day. Being signed with those guys makes me even more excited, and being able to fight for a belt in a higher division, I’m gonna be stoked. Coming off that loss wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning.”
The center of Rabaud’s recent notoriety on social media has stemmed from his loss to the aforementioned Nguyen in March. His fight went for less than 30 seconds and saw him knocked out in highlight-reel fashion. It was this fight and, in particular, the lead up to it that made Rabaud realize that he wasn’t fighting in the right division.
“I’ve got a little documentary coming out from my fight with ‘Ben 10’ about the weight cut and the way that it impacted my performance that night, with all the weight that I cut and the way that I was feeling,” Rabaud explained. “I was fortunate enough that my team at Rectangle Images were filming every single moment of me in the back room to put something together of whether I won or lost the fight. It’s important for people to see it, and it’s important for people to see the sides of both winning and losing.
“I was hoping to go out and win, but we didn’t know. I was so blessed that we documented it all, because I’m about to share with the world what the fuck they don’t know and what they couldn’t see back there. It was a totally different ‘Jackal.’ It was a run-down, tired ‘Jackal.’ It was a very weak, slow, lethargic ‘Jackal.’ And it’s all there on film.
“It’s not been redone. This is the real shit from the very fucking night, right before I walk out. It’s every single emotion, all these guys talking shit, saying, ‘He went out there and lost fair and square.’ Yeah, I did, but if there’s any justice in this, I wasn’t myself on the night. I’m not taking nothing away from my opponent at all. He’s a great fighter—he’s very skilled, very high level, very fast, very precise, he has great timing—but I could not say that he fought the best ‘Jackal’ on that night. That’s all I’m saying.
“And this video being posted on my Facebook later this week is just a thing where I’m trying to say this isn’t the end for me, this is just the beginning. [Because] there is a rise after the fall, and it’s a fucking powerful one. I’ve never ever had this much fucking fire. I’ve never been this ready. I’ve never been so determined in my goddamn fucking life, and that is the truth. It’ll all come into play early next year.”
With his eye on a new division and redemption firmly at the front of his mind, Rabaud will be watching eagerly from the front row at XFC 22 on Nov. 1 when the promotion’s featherweight title will be on the line. Whilst he isn’t guaranteed a title shot by any means, he knows that winning the first fight back from his loss is vital in silencing his critics.
“All I can say is that there are gonna be a lot of people that look fuckin’ stupid next year,” Rabaud exclaimed. “And I will pinpoint and name every single one of them. I am gonna make them look fucking stupid, every single fucking one. The fighters that I’m gonna knock out, I’m gonna take their fuckin’ heads off. I’m gonna make them fuckin’ pay, every single one, and I’m gonna do it with a fuckin’ smile on my face. I’m gonna do it with skill and I’m gonna do it with flair, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. So a little message there for them: I will be the last one laughing, and I guarantee you that it will be the loudest and I will name you.”