Most fans were dumbfounded when they heard Rashad Evans would be rewarded with a mini vacation after UFC champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua underwent his third knee surgery. Although the top contender was initially pleasantly surprised by the hiatus, it appears “Sugar” has soured on waiting for his shot at the crown.
“It’s just frustrating. I am a fighter and I need to make a living doing this, but at the same time it’s about getting that gold,” Evans told ESPN.com. “But if the gold is something that I’m not going to get an opportunity to fight for then I have to face that possibility and move forward and do some other things.
“If I don’t get the chance to fight for the belt, I will never ask to fight for this belt again. I will never want to fight for that belt again.”
Evans owns an impressive 15-1-1 professional record and earned his next dibs moniker by posting an uneventful win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 114 in May. It was his second straight victory, both by way of unanimous decision.
When Octagon president Dana White caught wind of Evans’ left-field rant, the brash promoter claimed the UFC weren’t the ones encouraging the former “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner to sit the sidelines. In fact, White took it a step further by suggesting Evans made a business decision by choosing to ride the pine alongside Rua.
“That’s the weirdest comment I have ever heard in my life,” White told Franklin McNeil. “Personally, I have a great relationship with Rashad. He’s a great guy. When you meet him outside, he’s a great guy. But when it comes to fighting, he is a complete head case.
“[Rashad] is scheduled to fight in March. We [also] offered him a fight in September; he turned it down. He said he didn’t want to harm his brand. I don’t know what the Rashad Evans brand is, or what that means, but he said he didn’t want to harm it. It’s not like we were keeping him from fighting, he chose to wait for Shogun. It’s not our fault; Shogun had knee surgery.”
Evans won’t have any issues if Shogun comes back by March. However, if the champ is still shooting blanks after the NCAA Tournament, White told the website he will look to postpone the title scrap until the summer time. Much to the dismay of the controversial wrestler.
“If [Rua] is going to be out longer than May or June then [the UFC] should consider an interim title and I will fight for an interim belt,” Evans added. “There have been other times when they’ve had situations like this and it’s never happened like that.”
White quickly shot down the idea of manufacturing an interim light heavyweight belt.