Rashad Evans belt” src=”http://www.cagepotato.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Rashad-Evans-belt-e1297706974215.jpg” alt=” width=”490″ height=”275″ />
(We just can’t stay mad at this guy. PicProps: MMA Space)
Not to distract you from your busy morning of eulogizing Fedor Emelianenko, but we feel compelled to remind everyone that Scott Coker isn’t the only MMA impresario who woke up Monday with a pounding headache. Remember that when we left the UFC last Friday, the butterfly effect from Rashad Evans’ knee injury was causing near-seismic shifts in the vaunted light heavyweight division? Yeah, we don’t think that got solved over the weekend.
Let’s see if we can get this goddamned soap opera straight: Evans tweaked his knee a couple weeks ago and instead of pushing his scheduled title bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back a few months to give Rashad time to rehab, Dana White took a flamethrower to the entire 205-pound title picture. In one fell swoop he gave Evans’ title shot to Jon Jones, pulled Quinton “Rampage” Jackson out of a scheduled fight with Thiago Silva at UFC 130 and quashed entirely the idea of having Matt Hamill fight Phil Davis at UFC 129. Smooth move, guy. Now the matchup merry-go-round is whirling out of control and everybody is pissed.
Rashad is pissed that the UFC took his title shot away and Rua is pissed that they flipped the script on him too, inserting Jones in Evans’ place just six weeks out. Rampage is publicly pissed that he has to fight Hamill, which no doubt privately pisses off “The Hammer.” Silva is pissed because he may or may not have tested positive for ’roids at UFC 125 and Davis is probably pissed because as of this moment he doesn’t have a fight at all. Oh, and the UFC brass? They’re pissed at Rashad, naturally.
In response to Evans’ claim that he’ll jump weight classes if Jones wins the title, White lit into him last week to a crowd of reporters (who dutifully laughed along), suggesting that Evans has “way too many friends” and pointing out that Rashad has at least one tight bro in every weight class between welter and heavy.
“You need to keep the friends thing down and stop training with people,” White said. “Now he’s talking, ‘Maybe I’ll go to heavyweight, maybe I’ll go to middleweight.’ Well if he goes to middleweight, Nate Marquardt is one of the top middleweights in the world, one of his friends. Shane Carwin is one of the best heavyweights in the world, that’s one of his friends. He’s got too many friends … Rashad at middleweight is one or two fights away (from a title shot). If we did a (Yushin) Okami vs. Rashad Evans fight and the winner fights (Anderson) Silva or Georges St. Pierre—Oh, but he won’t fight Georges St. Pierre because they’re friends.”
See? Bad feelings all around. We gotta say though, it seems pretty unfair to chastise Rashad for not wanting to fight his training partners in a bunch of matchups that so far only exist in Dana’s mind. Frankly, not wanting to fight their buddies is a charge you could level against almost anybody. Example: You know who has just as many friends as Evans does? Jon Jones – same friends, in fact — yet the UFC doesn’t seem to have a problem pushing him like he’s the greatest thing since all-weather tires.
Big we digress. We assume this whole mess will all get solved with a flurry of fight-bookings in the next couple of weeks. Until then, everybody over at 205-pounds will be walking on eggshells.