Dana White recently revealed that Chuck Liddell would return to the Octagon in Atlanta this September, but he didn’t say who he’d be facing. Now ESPN the Magazine is saying it will be….Rashad Evans. So, yeah, basically we’re back to where we were before UFC 85.
ESPN says the fight has been “agreed to in principle”, though not signed. The article itself largely focuses on “Sugar” Rashad and his lack of popularity among MMA fans. Trouble is, it attributes the lack of enthusiasm for Evans to — get this — “showboating.”
Evans points to one moment that may have held him back. During his first fight on The Ultimate Fighter, he bobbed and weaved his head excessively. After beating Tom Murphy in the bout, opposing coach Matt Hughes lambasted Evans for showboating. Much later, the two kissed and made up. (Evans now admits he was over-the-top with his posturing.) But Hughes’ comments have stuck, and fans continue to be lukewarm. “It hurts a little bit that people still don’t really root for me,” Evans says. “Everybody seems to think I’m a showboat, and I’ll probably always have to fight that perception.”
Evans saying that people don’t like him because he’s a showboat is kind of like Clay Aiken saying people hate him because they’re afraid he might sleep with their girlfriends. It’s the right sentiment, but it’s being chalked up to the exact wrong cause.
The strangest thing is to imagine that Evans really believes this is what’s hurting his popularity with the fans. You can almost picture him looking in the mirror in his dressing room before a fight and saying, ‘All right, Sugar, let’s go out there and keep it real flat and monotonous. Got to get rid of that showboat label.’