by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
By now, most fans have either read or heard through some type of media that there was an altercation between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans at UFC 69. Rashad joined the guys on MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio to clear the air and to let fans know what really happened that night between him and Ortiz.
“What it all comes down to is just Tito Ortiz trying to intimidate me, you know. He passed by the front row…he passed by a few times, and you could tell that he was building up the courage to say something, just like in high school,” said Rashad. “It was just killing him to say something. But then finally he builds up the courage to come over and he sticks his hand out and he says, ‘Good luck with your training, and you’d better watch what you say.'”
Rashad responded to Ortiz by saying, “You’re not going to tell me what I can and can’t say…I’ll say whatever I want to say. I’m a grown man, nobody puts a leash on me.”
Rashad continued, “And then I got in his ear and I told him I was going to destroy him, I was going to eat him. I told him that he is washed up; he’s a has-been. That’s exactly what I said. But I said it to him, in his ear, so he was the only one who could hear what was going on…he was looking to try to intimidate me and I was going to have none of that.”
After that verbal exchange came a shoulder shrug from Rashad saying “come on,” followed by a push from Ortiz. That is as far as the physical altercation went that night, but it was likely enough to provide an added incentive for each man when in training camp preparing for one another.
Still more than two months out, this fight is already building serious hype around it, and it should, because the winner of this fight will likely gain top-contender status in the UFC light-heavyweight division and thus earn a chance to fight either Quinton Jackson or current champion Chuck Liddell, depending on which of those men wins on May 26th.
As if this fight needs any more hype, one other point of controversy between Ortiz and Evans is around a comment apparently posted by Tito on an Internet forum. According to reports, Ortiz called Rashad a “nappy-headed ho.” Clearly Tito was regurgitating verbiage from Don Imus, the recently fired morning show host when he made this statement, but in reality only Tito knows his true intentions.
Rashad responded to Ortiz’s comment by saying, “Whether he was trying to be racist, or whether he was trying to be funny, I think it was just in bad taste, period. Just because of the whole situation that happened.”
When these two men do meet in the Octagon on July 7th, whether either man makes it personal or not, this fight will definitely be a spirited one. Ortiz desperately needs this win over Evans if he has any hopes of being even a #1 contender in the near future, and Rashad needs to beat the former champion to propel himself to top contender status for a shot at the light-heavyweight championship.
With this much buildup still two months out, fans can almost assuredly expect to see more trash talk and bad blood between these two talented men in the near future as fight night creeps closer.
“One thing that he knows is that he’s afraid. When the lights go out and when Jenna’s holding him at nighttime, he wakes up and he has nightmares about me, I know it,” Rashad said.