Thursday, 24 March 2011

QUOTABLES: Rashad Evans feels "utterly disrespected" by "backstabbing" Jon Jones, lashes out at Greg Jackson

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

"You can't say you are not going to have anything to do with it when you are a big part of the reason why the situation originated. That's like spilling a glass of milk and then walking away and saying that you don't want to have anything to do with it. You f**king spilled the milk... so you're at least going to help clean it up right? When Jon Jones came to the gym over a year ago Greg Jackson came to me and said, "listen, what do you feel about having this kid on the team?" I told him straight up that I didn't like it. I told him that the kid was talented and that the sky was the limit with him but that was the type of guy I wanted to fight not train with. Greg came back saying, "No, no, no this will be just like you and Keith where he will be just like a brother." I still told him that I didn't want to do that. Then Greg said if that situation ever did arise between Jones and I that he would have to turn the fight down because that's how it works. He would have to turn down the fight with me so that way I wouldn't be put in a position where I looked like a punk. That's how it works in the Greg Jackson system. After a while Greg was so high on this kid coming in and I met Jon Jones and he was a very nice and very sweet kid, so eventually I said f**k it, let' s bring him in. After he got there and I trained with him and tried him out a little bit, something didn't feel right so I moved my camp up to Denver to train at Grudge for awhile. That is where I spent the majority of my time over the past two fights...

For my last two fights I have trained with Greg Jackson five times. During my time at Grudge I wasn't really dealing with Greg too much but were maintaining a great relationship and friendship so after my last fight I decided I was going to head back to Albuquerque to train with Greg and everything felt good there. My training went great. Jon and I were clicking on another level almost like I did with my first training partner. It was starting to get to the point where it was like what Keith and I have where we feel like brothers. We would share ideas and I wasn't holding back on him and I felt that he wasn't holding back on me and I knew that because there were days where Jon would have some rough days in the gym. We worked a rough pace and if you are competing at this level and you train with someone everyday you can tell when they are struggling. I did my best to help and I really felt that our friendship was on another level...but that wasn't the case. When the first opportunity came and he said that he would fight me if Dana said so, that to me stung more than anything. He said that he didn't want to lose his job and look man, the UFC isn't going to fire anyone because they are turning down fights. If anything it would mess up future opportunities for them and they weren't going to come to him and say, 'if you don't fight Rashad you are kicked out of the UFC.' That wasn't going to happen. I was always considerate and respectful to our system because if I had the belt then I would want you to do the same for me. Then he comes across on national TV and says that he will fight Rashad if Dana White tells me to and I felt so f**cking utterly disrespected...

I mean it's one thing to say something in an interview but the least you could have picked up the phone and been like, "man I did an interview today and they kind of put me on the spot with a rough question and I answered it this way." At least give me the heads up so that way I know and not look at it if he's Judas or something. You know who Judas is? That interview was some backstabbing s**t but now it's like whatever because now I know the game he is playing. Then for Greg to sit back and say he doesn't want to have anything to do with it... why not? You f**king created the situation. Be his coach and be in his corner. That's what you want so do it. I don't care if he coaches against me. It doesn't even matter...

I have a lot of motivation. I feel disrespected on many levels and the worst part is that it comes from people who I felt were like family. I would have done anything for Greg Jackson, and I would still do anything for Greg Jackson but I felt disrespected beyond belief. I feel disrespected by Jon because when I think about when we trained or when we were chilling, was the s**t even real? Or was he just trying to be a master manipulator and try to manipulate the situation so he could get what he wanted out of it? I don't know and that is a question that I have in my mind but when I get down to it...that doesn't even matter because we are going to get in there and we are going to fight. People want to say "oh my God Jon is this and that" but Jon Jones is Jon Jones to me. He's another fighter I have to face. I've seen them all and I've trained with the best. I've seen all the shades of greatness and how this one was supposed to do this and this one was supposed to do that. It's all the same and it doesn't even matter."

-Rashad Evans opens up about leaving Greg Jackson with a fight coming against Jon Jones in an interview with Duane Finley at

Penick's Analysis: The full interview is a must read, as Evans talks about how he'll now be starting up his own camp and more, but it's clear that there's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that might start coming out more in the lead up to this fight. This is part of the problem with some of the really close fight teams in this sport, because at the top levels the best have to fight the best, and if these camps have this "family" mentality where guys don't want to fight each other then situations like this can arise. For Jones, he's 23-years-old, and hasn't been at Jackson's for all that long, so having to fight Rashad isn't as big a deal for him in this department. For Rashad, he's rightfully feeling disrespected because he was there first, and he feels Jackson replaced him with Jones. That's going to help lead into a very heated and personal title fight when it does happen, and though it may be a bad situation for them now, it's going to lead to a hell of a title fight for the UFC.

[Rashad Evans art by Cory Gould (c)]


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