Rashad Evans: When Trash Talking Goes Wrong

December 8, 2011
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Trash talk is second nature to some athletes who followed the lead of greats like Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan.

Sometimes, however, trash talking goes wrong. It appears to have gone sideways for UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans.

During a press conference to promote the UFC on Fox 2 fight card on Jan. 28, Evans and opponent Phil Davis engaged in a little back and forth banter after a fan posed a question to the former light heavyweight champion.

Evans was asked which version of his fighting persona would show up against Phil Davis. The knockout happy Rashad Evans, who floored fighters like Chuck Liddell and Sean Salmon, or the wrestling and ground and pound machine that beat opponents like Jason Lambert and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

“Whichever one shows up,” answered Evans. “I prefer to bring out the knockout one, cause Phil, he needs to get knocked out.”

This prompted a response from Davis, who invoked the name of Evans’ former training partner and now heated rival Jon Jones.

“Glad you mentioned that cause one of your buddies, Jon Jones, said you don’t have much of a chin,” Davis stated.

Hearing Jones’ name pop up once again infuriated Evans, who then responded with a longer, more intense diatribe that ended with reference to the horrendous situation currently surrounding former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and his alleged sexual assault on numerous children.

“You’re going to have to find out for yourself. I bet you won’t be able to put your hands on me though. I bet you’ll be the first one to take a shot. I guarantee you’ll be the first one to take a shot,” Evans said.

“Cause I’m going to put those hands on you worse than that dude did to them other kids at Penn State.”

Davis attended Penn State, where he wrestled and won a NCAA championship.

Whether he was trying to push a button or get clever with his response, Evans went over the line with his trash talk, especially when considering this was a promotional event to hype up the next major UFC on Fox show.

Evans has yet to comment further on the war of words he engaged in with Davis, or if he has any plans to issue any sort of an apology for the crass and cruel reference to such an awful story still permeating the headlines.

While free speech is definitely something to hold near and dear in the United States, Evans didn’t violate a law by what he said, but stepped over the lines of poor taste and poor timing.

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  • “There’s going to be more black on black crime!”

    • I think his comment was right on time…He used the Penn state comment just as a reference. Hell he had to come up with something better that Sonnen and he did.

  • phrankthetank

    Davis isn’t nearly as complete a fighter as rashad is. I see this one being very lopsided

    • MrAdidas

      Completely agree with you 100%! not sure how Davis is going to beat Evans – unless it’s by decision & even then I dont see what Davis can do to win 2 Rounds!

  • kidsysco

    I disagree, Davis can win this. I hope he does. Rashad’s weakness is his confidence.

    • phrankthetank

      Well we can agree to disagree, but I expect Davis to run out of answers for rashad very quickly. Davis is a great wrestler, but his striking is lacking, his bjj is lacking, and rashad isn’t going to be laid on easily.

      • MrAdidas

        Not ot mention Davis has no “kicks” – well nothing I’ve seen that would disprove my comment. We all know Evans has strikes, wrestling, elbows & kicks!

  • therealmo

    and chin

    • jamesstenbeck

      And size.

      Rashad is too small for 205. He needs to move down – and hopefully he will, after Davis, who has so obviously been working on his stand-up all this time, KO’s him.

  • Damn Rashad, I met you in Atlanta and I’ve had respect for you up until now…….. very poor class on your part. You have definitely lost one fan.

  • Rashad’s a good dude and I don’t think he meant anything by it, he was just trying to get under Davis’ skin. I don’t think he thought that one out. Was more than likely a spur of the moment thing he just blurted out and I bet he wishes he could take it back.

    • MrAdidas

      I agree, it was too soon but he was trying to get under Davis’s skin, since thats where Davis went to university & thats who he wrestled for (Penn State). Poor taste, poor timing, but definately not even close to some of the worst things people/athletes have said in the past, or what some morons will say in the future.

  • shaman

    “Over the line”?

    Maybe if you have some stock in the Penn State franchise..

    What that man did needs to be talked about, and the country is better off for it. I give a damn how much Penn State makes this year

    As for fighters talking smack, I doubt anyone past HS really cares. I’m amped to see the fight (on it’s own merit), though

  • shaman

    as in ‘not giving a damn’..

  • cem5068

    @ shaman- you clearly don’t get it; rashad made a reference to one of the worst tragedies to ever occur in college sports. Victims are still coming forward, the severity of the situation has yet to be fully understood and rashad utilizes it for a cheap shot? It was completely uncalled for, loosely had anything to do with Davis (yea he went to PSU, so did millions of other people) and goes to show what type of person he is. I had all the respect in the world for Rashad before this, he was amongst my favorite fighters of all time. Now? I can’t wait to see his ego shattered and face planted on the mat (if mot by Davis the undoubtedly by Jones.) And don’t think for a second this was merely to sell the fight, because even someone like Chael Sonnen knows where to draw the line. In the best case we saw just how shook Jones has Rashad and worst case we finally saw who he really is.

    In my mind the man needs to apologize, do some volunteer work at the second mile and meet first hand the type of youth his comments were inadvertently directed towards.

    • afk

      You’re so stupid and ignorant it’s insane. Go GOOGLE Chael Sonnen quotes. Read what that ****** has said about Brazil and other fighters. Watch the Backstage with Ariel Helwani interview. You think that he isn’t stepping over the line?

      There’s a reason Chael will never fight Anderson Silva in Brazil and that’s because he will be attacked and likely murdered by the locals. Don’t get me wrong, either, if he was saying that shit about any country I don’t think he’d be travelling there any time soon.

    • spydermonkey

      Really that long winded reply just to say Rashad’s comment was to far, It’s called dark humor, I’m no Rashad fan but if he has a twisted sense of humor, so what, get over it

  • afk

    Don’t get what the fuss is. It was relevant, it was funny and yes it was on the darker side but it’s 2011 people and if you’re still clinging to some emotional and non-progressive view of the world and the limited power of unintended language than I could honestly care less about someone saying words and hurting you.

    This is the kind of **** that they tried to teach you doesn’t hurt you in kindergarten. “Oh my God, that big man said a bad word!” He’s a fighter. He fights. How many articles does MMAWEEKLY write about how rude it is that Chael Sonnen is belittling an entire country every day? They don’t! They ****ing quote it and repost it. It’s all a huge bunch of ignorant (B.S.) and one day Darwinism will catch up with the lot of you wastebags who cry about stupid verbal comments when there’s a billion other things to be thinking about that are more worth your time.

    It’s sad, people, acting like this was anything more than it was: some guy making a joke that wasn’t funny to everybody. It was funny to Dana, and it was funny to me.


  • shaman

    cem I took it in a completely different way

    I understand the severity of the topic, and rashad was using it in a crass way, but sometimes ‘not talking about bad things’ is the best way to hide them and make sure they happen even more. Isn’t that how Paterno handled it? Was it ‘polite’ to let more kids get raped all these years?

    This is my view, but both guys were making jabs at each other and one comment gets extrapolated and over analyzed. The topic NEEDS to be talked about more (although in a more appropriate light) and IMO to make it ‘off limits’ hurts kids more than Penn state grads

  • MikeMc1983

    When rashad made that joke in the press conference it seemed like everyone in the room was laughing. Chael had a bunch of funny moments, but the laughter didn’t last any longer than when rashad made that joke. Even Phil was laughing about it. That being said I thought to my self, and knew someone was going to cry about it. I just know that it seems like people in our current society look for things to be offended by. I’ve never been a radhad evens fan, but in that moment the joke was funny. Im sure rashad will say he’s sorry, but I hope he doesn’t. It’s not like an apology will make anyone feel better. People just need a thicker skin. They’re just words, and they were not directed at anyone that can’t defend themself.

  • MikeMc1983

    By the way I don’t believe that was spur of the moment. It’s not like rashad is quick witted. I wouldn’t even be surprized if the idea for the joke came from someone else.

  • cem5068

    @ Shaman- I agree almost 100% with your second post. I’m not saying don’t talk about it; I think you’re absolutely right, people should be talking about it, it should be in the spot light. But again, to be utilized as a punch line for a come back that is barely relevant? Especially when you have your son right there with you? Totally out of line, at least, for the man I thought Rashad was. Maybe it’s because I thought the best of the man, or that while he’s saying this Sandusky was put behind bars because two more victims came forward. I’m not saying I’ve come to expect more out of MMA or it’s fighters, but certainly from Rashad. But you are certainly right.

    @afk- sonnen’s said a lot of crazy ****, but nothing quite this bad. Sure he’s belittled millions in Brazil, insulted hundreds of people in incredibly harsh ways and surely I’m not defending him- I’ll Agee that he truly doesn’t know where to draw the line. but I really don’t think any of that compares to using raped children as the punchline for a comeback. That being said, do you not see the irony in saying that “there are a billion other things to think about”? What are you trying to teach us feeble minded how to go about our lives? Why would u even be reading this let alone be replying if your pedestal is so high in the clouds? U don’t have to like or agree with my opinions, but saying something like that and dropping darwin, let alone a Charlie sheen reference makes you look like the biggest hypocrite in the world. There’s about a million insults I’d like to fire your way but my kindergarten teach taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 🙂

    @spydermonkey- 100% agree, but that’s what these comment areas are for, expression. Mine was simply that I can’t believe he said that and I expect more from the guy. Maybe I Should’ve said just that instead of rambling.

    • afk

      Saying that any one comment is worse than another is just perspective, so if you want to start throwing around elitist literary terms to fight your battles you’ve already lost sight of the point.

      Bitches and pussies is all you are. Afraid of words and prefer to cry about it. It’s not hypocritical for me to troll you for being a whiny keyboard warrior. There are more important things for me to be doing, but at least me telling you to stop being a baby is in the right direction.

    • afk

      Also Charlie Sheen is a boss. Haters be’ hatin’.

  • Dyldozer16

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!! I ****ing hate how humans have to sensor what they say now, and if they dont then they become public enemy #1. I dont think it makes Rashad look bad at all. If youre gonna get offended by what people say buy some ear muffs. Rashad isnt the first and he certaintly wont be the last to do it. And btw, Chael Sonnen is clever and funny as hell. I hope he continues to trash whoever and whatever he wants. Same with Rashad or anyone else in the UFC.

  • Evans is an idiot anyway. I could care less if he wins or loses, but if I had to pick the best shot (photo image) of a knock out, I’d say the Machida KO of Evans is the very best! Evans looked so silly there, sprawled out on his back, with that goofy look on his knocked out face. That looked the funniest of all.

    As for the comment regarding a Chester molesting little boys; that was not a good reference. It makes me wonder: did Rashad get a degree at Michigan? Are athletes really taking hard classes, or do they get to floss and skate through school? Judging by his mouth, the athletes skate through school.

  • MikeMc1983

    Rashad didn’t have his kid on his lap when he made the joke. I think he should receive more critique for having his kid at the press conference anyhow. I find it annoying when athletes bring kids to interviews. Especially when they’re too young to be controlled. Evans had to do a hand off half way through because the kid kept interrupting.

  • cem5068

    @afk- Jesus guy, are you going to start quoting scripture next? Maybe drop a lil marxism or Lennon? Please bless us all with your great wisdom, then follow it up with the plural *****, ***** and all the kind words of wisdom you have to share. I beg you to put us all in our place with your homoeroticism for Charlie sheen and cast us out of the greater good. However my “perspective” is that Rashad Evans is not the great athlete, fighter, or human being I had formerly perceived him as being; certainly sonnet has made a career out of these type of incidents, which is why Ive never had any respect for him. So please, digest this as best you can, and spew some repetitive, unoriginal thought that is currently popular both as a theme for your current reading list at your local library and your inner circle of pretencious friends.

    And for your sake, please allow me a lame, overused cultural reference so that we may be equal… How do you like them apples?

    • MrAdidas

      CEM5068: I do not understand how or why you can think someone was/is a great fighter,, athlete or human being, then to completely do a 180 in regards to how you “perceive” this individual, all b/c he told a poorly timed joke?!?

      So, you are telling me that your personal opinion of Rashad Evans was of a good figther, good athlete & a good human being, until….. he made a mistake in the timing of the joke. Had Evans told the joke 6 month or even 12 months from now, 90% of society would’nt give a rats ass. The only problem I have with this topic, is the timing of the joke. This is the year 2011, what Rashad Evans said is NOWHERE near news worthy & it’s especially not something people should judge Evans on, nor does this comment reflect in any shape or form the type of person Evans is. Grow up dude!

  • jamesstenbeck

    Rashad never used to be like this. He was nothing but respectful pre-fight to Chuck, Forrest and Machida.

    Rashad’s problem is that he’s been hanging out with a real negative crowd these days – I’m talking about that bunch of whiny losers who walked out on American Top Team and formed that camp where Rashad is at now (he joined them about two weeks after the ex-ATT malcontents threw their temper tantrum).

    And they haven’t done all that great in the cage either: Other than Rashad, they’re a combined 4-8; and Miguel Torres is there too – and look what he just pulled!

    Rashad laid down with dogs, and has woken up with fleas.