Primetime Part I (Video via: YouTube/WeedIsJustAPlanttt)
Despite the brooding drama built into the upcoming Jon Jones-Rashad Evans title fight at UFC 145, the latest installment of the UFC Primetime franchise has a decidedly more mature aura about it. No more fire-alarm monologues, no more interviews with grade school teachers. We’re dealing with big people problems. Rashad Evans has lost just about everything in his life over the past year, and he places a lot of that blame on the shoulders of his former teammates. While other matchups may have produced more vitriol for the cameras, few have the depth behind them as this rivalry.
“He has a book of notes that he takes, and it’s like a book of moves, and he reads this book of moves so that way when he fights the moves are fresh in his head. So I go in there in the locker room to wish him luck and I’m giving him daps and hugs and I’m going to warm him up, and I go and sit next to him when he’s looking at the book of notes and he covers it, and he puts it down and he looks at me. I’m like, ‘Damn, bro, it’s like that?’ Like, ‘For real?’ So then I knew at that point that I was next on the menu.” Rashad Evans, on the first time he realized he and Jones were destined to be better enemies than friends.
We start off in sunny Florida with an establishing shot of Rashad’s new crib. Over the past 12-months he’s divorced his high school sweetheart, severed ties with his ‘family’ at Jackson’s MMA Academy, and packed his bags for Florida to begin life anew. That’s a hell of an upheaval, and it must be taking an emotional toll on Rash…damn, did you see that ‘lac? Suga’s going to be alright, y’all.
“A few years ago Greg Jackson approached me with the idea of having Jon Jones join the camp. And I was like, ‘Man, this kid looks pretty good. He looks like an up and coming guy.’ And I was like, ‘Greg, I don’t really feel comfortable with him coming on the team, being that he’s going to be somebody that I got to compete against.’ And Greg was like, ‘No, no buddy. It’s not going to be like that. We’re family. We’re brothers. We’ll never have to fight each other.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but still, I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea.’ And Greg was like, ‘Listen, trust me. You will not have to fight him, and if you do have to fight him I’m with you 100%.’ ” Rashad Evans, doing a pretty good impression of a goofy white dude. No wonder he’s so adept at spotting those ‘fake ass white boys‘.
“You know, it made me feel angry at first. I was full of emotions and I was just more like, ‘Man, fuck Greg.’ You tell me that it would never happen, you’re guaranteeing me that I’ll never have to fight somebody, and I go off of your word, and then it turns around and it happens just the way that I thought it would happen? Then you turn around and say, ‘Alright, I’m going to stick with him’? That’s a betrayal.” Rashad Evans, summing up a year of drama and saving me the need for 100 hyperlinks in a single, tidy quote.
“I remember growing up, we really didn’t have anything, but my parents were so loving that we never really realized how poor we were, because we had so much love in our home. And my job as a father is to outdo my father, and to show him that he raised a great man. And I’m out here trying to get it, not really for me at all but for my family and for my family’s future.” Jon Jones, appreciating his roots. To this day he carries that photo of his father posing on the hood of his busted up El Camino in his back pocket for a little extra motivation.
“Rashad Evans realized that I was becoming the best fighter and that I was in line for the title shot, and that’s when he made me seem as if I wanted to challenge him. And I didn’t want to challenge him. The only thing I always wanted to do was to fulfill my dream of being the number one fighter in the world. To this day, I’ve never challenged Rashad at all.” Jon Jones, who believes that the drama between the two is as one-sided as the fight will be.
“Yeah I feel bad for Rashad. You know, I miss the guy. Actually me and Jon were talkingabout how much fun he was and he’d always make us laugh. So there’s no negative animosity on our end. Especially not on my end.” Greg Jackson, coping with the breakup like a real man, who is naturally sharing a laugh in bed with his hot new girlfriend while the recently-divorced ex-wife is crying alone in her shabby one-bedroom apartment dealing with the four kids and the dog.
“Rashad was the one who got bypassed through hard work, and he was the one who needed to find a way to challenge me for the light-heavyweight championship. And that’s why Coach Jackson, Coach Winklejohn and everyone on this team is backing me to the fullest in the is fight. Because I’ve done nothing wrong.” Jon Jones, giving all credit to hard work when we know full well that God has a history of protecting him while saying ‘to hell’ with everyone else.
“Rashad fighting me out of anger, you know it actually excites me because it’s going to deteriorate his game. He’s really going to realize that he’s wasted the last three or four months of his life training for this fight because he’s not going to win.” Jon Jones, who in his youth doesn’t yet realize that win or lose it’s not a wasted training camp if you share intimate moments with those around you.
Primetime Part II (Video via: YouTube/WeedIsJustAPlanttt)