(“To: Rashad. Some glass trinkets to go with your jaw. Merry Xmas! From: Dana.” PicProps: Sherdog)
We could spend all day debating the wisdom of Rashad Evans sitting out the last nine months while waiting for his title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the greatest move. Evans – who ain’t no spring chicken at 31 years old — essentially squandered what otherwise might have been one of the most lucrative years of his MMA career trying to preserve a fight that now may never happen at all. In the process, he pissed off his notoriously erratic boss and (to hear the fighter himself tell it) put his entire future in the light heavyweight division at risk.
Even though the decision seemed justified at the time, deep down Evans might wish he could take that one back. At least publicly however, he’s holding the line. As the great poet Coolio once said, wishing is for suckers, and Rashad? Well, a few weeks after seeing his next chance at that 205-pound strap evaporate when he got his knee rolled up during a freak accident in the training room, he still says he wouldn’t change a thing …
“Even knowing what I know now about what would happen during training, I’d make that same decision (to wait for Rua) again,” Evans told MMA Fighting.com this week. “The problem is, there’s no governing body to the UFC to decide who gets the title shot. There’s no ranking, so how do I know when I’ll get a title shot again? What, when Dana White likes me enough? It’s basically on when he likes me, and you know as well as I know, that’s not that often. If I get the opportunity to fight for a title because he says so, then I’m going to take it. If I have to wait to take it, I’ll wait to take it.”
White has admittedly not been the biggest Rashad Evans fan during the last few weeks. He’s criticized Evans’ decision to pass up other opportunities to fight for the UFC while Rua was out rehabbing his own injury. He’s criticized Evans’ steadfast contention that he won’t fight his friends and training partners in the Octagon. He’s criticized Evans’ most recent fight with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, which White called “boring” and then quipped, “I don’t want to see that fucking fight again.” Instead, Rampage will fight Matt Hamill at UFC 130 and Evans is still without an upcoming opponent.
“Dana White says what he says, and one thing you can always appreciate him for is his honesty,” said Evans, which sounds suspiciously like the Christian way of saying ‘fuck you too, Dana.’ “I guess sometimes his honesty doesn’t favor me, but that’s fine. That’s okay. He can say our fight was boring, but I have a different perspective being in the fight … He says a Hamill (vs. Rampage) fight would be more exciting? I mean, we’ll see. Hamill has pretty much the same style that I have, so we’ll see if Hamill’s able to make it more exciting than I was. If he’s saying it was boring because of me, I don’t understand that. I watched the Machida and Rampage fight, and that fight was pretty boring to me.”
As far as White’s decision to hand Evans’ title shot to his young teammate Jon Jones? Evans contends both he and Jones are at peace with it. In fact, he tosses around a lot of “whatever will be, will be” and “it’s out of our hands”-style quotes about Jones’ upcoming fight with Rua in this interview.
“It’s hard,” said Evans. “Of course it’s hard. I can’t lie and say it’s not hard or that I don’t think sometimes, I wish it was me. But I believe that everything happens for a reason … I told (Jones), ‘Listen, after you destroy (Ryan Bader), everybody’s going to be talking and saying you should fight Rashad or whatever, but understand that whatever’s meant for you is meant for you, and whatever’s meant for me is meant for me’ … Neither of us controls the key to the future. It’s out of our hands, so whatever happens, happens.”
Hmmm, now that sounds suspiciously like the Christian way of saying, “We choose not to confront this emotionally and morally difficult situation, instead we choose to believe forces beyond our control will take care of it for us.”