UFC light heavyweight Rashad “Sugar” Evans just came off the biggest victory in his young MMA career at UFC 88 when he knocked out former champion Chuck Liddell, but before he could even enjoy it, he was bombarded with criticism regarding his “antics” throughout the fight.
“People are just so upset that I won this fight,” Evans said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, those antics, he’s such a showboater.’ I’m like, ‘How was I showboating?’ The way I move is the way I move.”
Even when Evans was a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, he drew criticism from opposing coach and UFC great, Matt Hughes, when Hughes thought Evans was “showboating” in the Octagon. Hughes told him behavior like that sets a bad example for the sport and would never be tolerated on his team.
Evans feels that his style is misunderstood. His rapid and unique movement is something that he has always done, even dating back to his days as an amateur wrestler.
“When I wrestled in college, I wrestled the exact same way,” Evans stated. “I have a lot of movement. That’s just the way I move. That’s what makes me feel comfortable, and people just get so mad about that.”
In fact, Evans even received heat for his “antics” during his fight against Liddell from UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan. And Evans took notice when he watched the fight on replay.
“Joe Rogan is like, ‘I don’t know if Rashad Evans is trying to throw [Liddell] off his game or of he’s trying to showboat,” said Evans. “First of all, you showboat when you do something. If I haven’t done anything, there’s nothing to showboat about.
“I’m just trying to get my game going. I’m just like, ‘What are you talking about?’ If Anderson Silva did it, it would be ‘superb technique,’ but when I do it, it’s showboating.”
The new 205-pound top contender seems to have an answer for all of his critics regarding his flashy style. All of his explanations seem to make sense, however what was the deal with him licking his fingers and twisting his nipples, on numerous occasions during the pre-fight introductions?
Evans laughed it off, stating it was a ritual that his Jackson Submission Fighting teammate, Georges St-Pierre, started at UFC 87 before his fight against Jon Fitch.
“Georges St. Pierre was the first do it, and it’s just sort of an inside joke,” Evans said laughing.”Georges said it was supposed to be good luck or something, so I said, ‘Cool, alright.'”
Whatever they are doing down at their Albuquerque, New Mexico camp seems to be working. They currently have the UFC welterweight champion in GSP, Evans now gets first crack at light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin for his belt, and Nate Marquardt’s impressive victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC 88 puts him right back in title contention in the middleweight division.
Twist all the nipples you want.