The entire MMA world continues to pile on Jon Jones over the UFC 151 cancellation. It is probably a surprise to nobody that Rashad Evans is the latest to blast the champ. What is surprising is the professionalism and truth in his criticism.
“For me, it’s a two part question for me. For one, you want to always keep it right for the fighters. It’s great for the fighters to have the right to choose a fight. That is one of the liberties we do have, the option to say yes or no to a fight. But then on the other hand, you have a tremendous responsibility as the champion. You are the champion of the UFC. Not only that, you became champion of the UFC through circumstances like this. You had the opportunity to fight for someone that was injured. He stepped into a fight, after I got hurt, so he stepped in for me to fight Shogun. So, he was rewarded by the very process of somebody stepping in to take a fight. So, he owed it to the UFC to take the fight. Not only that, he owed it to all the other fighters on this card who are going to be missing paydays because of that. And lets not talk about how the UFC has done so much to make him the face of the UFC. They sponsored him. Everything he’s gotten is because of the UFC, the whole Nike endorsement and everything else like that, has all been because of the UFC. When he got in trouble a few months back, it was the UFC who stood behind him and kind of made it go away relatively quickly. So, for him to turn his back on the UFC is very hard to believe, for one, but it’s just disappointing. I’m sure one day, when he has the time to understand the ramifications of his decision, he’s is gonna think, ‘Wow. What did I really do?'”
Bam! This is exactly what I wrote in my blog about the cancellation of UFC 151. I mentioned in my blog the irony of Jones having no problem taking a fight on short notice when it was to his benefit was opposed to Jones now having issues with a short turnaround time.
The sponsorship point is also a point that was brought up during Dana White’s media call. The UFC sponsors Jon Jones, something Evans had a real hard time with leading up to his fight with Jones. In reality, every fighter is sponsored by the UFC but Jones has a unique deal. The UFC wouldn’t have sponsored Jones if they didn’t want him to be the face of the company. Jones’ critics all point to this and say that if for no other reason, Jones should have saved the show for this one.
Evans also gave a real candid assessment of Jon Jones the person today. What is most surprising here is that instead of lobbying personal insults at Jones, Evans takes more of a big brother approach with his comments.
“For me, it’s more of a sadness than anything. What it comes down to at the end of the day, despite the fact that me and Jon had our situations and we did part ways the way we did and we fought and I lost, I don’t want to wish bad on him. I never want to wish bad on anybody like that because these are things in life that affects more than Jon Jones. It affects his family, it affects everyone that is close to him. So, to wish bad on him is to wish bad on a lot of other people that I have no problems with. Another thing is, dimming his light doesn’t make my light any brighter. So for me, I just feel bad that it has come to light, exactly what I was saying and I don’t want to be like, ‘Ah man, I told you so, I told you so.’ I would have been happy if he made me look like a liar. For me, it’s about the organization and the sport and he is an ambassador for the sport, so, when he does things like this, it affects everybody involved. If he is going to be champion, then he has to take responsibility pretty serious and know and that he is representing more than just himself with the choices that he makes.”
“I would have been happy if he made me look like a liar.” I don’t know if I believe that, but it is a great line. I think what he and others have been most disappointed in here is that a UFC champion would turn down a fight. I don’t know if I agree that being champion automatically requires you to take fights on short notice, but it is a valid argument to make.
The one problem I have here is that Rashad Evans is a guy that has probably pulled out of more big fights than anyone I can remember. Yes they were all due to injury, but it wasn’t as if he was putting the UFC on his back as a wounded warrior and taking fights he shouldn’t have. This is a much different situation in that Jones wasn’t hurt, but I just have a bit of a hard time listening to Rashad Evans get on his high horse about accepting fights on short notice when he has cancelled several big fights himself.
That is probably the biggest surprise to me here of all.
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