We have all experienced it before. Teammates become your friends, and your friends become your extended family. And families don’t fight each other, not even for money or a title. UFC president Dana White sees no logic in that mentality, and he thinks that Keith Jardine’s career is going to suffer because of it.
“This isn’t basketball or football,” White emphatically stated. “You’re not part of a team. Do you want to be the champ? If Rashad’s got that belt, what are you going to do – sit your whole career out and wait for Rashad to retire?”
Jardine and Rashad Evans, the UFC’s current light heavyweight champ and fellow Jackson Submission teammate, have sworn to never fight each other, no matter what.
“I disagree with that,” White said. “And I have to their face many times … Their careers are going to cross paths. And when they do, they’re going to have to fight.””
This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that teammates in the same division refuse to fight each other. The American Kickboxing Academy is home to top UFC welterweights Jon Fitch, Mike Swick and Josh Koscheck, who all stated that they will never square off.
Looking at it from another standpoint, former top ranked light heavyweight of the world Mauricio “Shogun” Rua never fought his former Chute Boxe teammate and PrideFC champ Wanderlei Silva because of the same promise. Interestingly, Shogun never held the title however was ranked higher than Silva, who had the belt.
They and their camp thought that the younger Shogun had plenty of time to run the 205-pound division after Silva retired. Unfortunately for all involved, their pact backfired as Shogun underwent back-to-back knee surgeries that have not allowed him to return to his dominant form.
MMA is growing by the day. Money, careers and legacies are at stake. Perhaps White is right, pinkie-swears should never be made.