It’s not exactly Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock — both of these guys can actually fight.
But as far as trash-talking and genuine dislike goes, the main event of UFC 114 makes the Ortiz/Shamrock pre-fight buildups look tame.
There is little love lost between light-heavyweights “Sugar” Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
In an out-of-control, almost surreal, call with the media this week, the top-ranked light-heavyweights let loose on each other — each digging deeper than the other to insult, belittle and embarrass.
Neither race nor sexuality were off-limits as the two teed off on each other.
Rashad to Rampage: “You give black men a bad name by perpetuating the stereotype we’re all stupid.”
Rampage to Rashad: “I know you’re gay because you’re always playing with your nipples and you wear them tight, gay shorts.”
In between the lengthy exchanges were enough F-bombs to make even UFC president Dana White blush.
But White’s no dummy. The profanity-laced verbal sparring was pure gold.
“These two have eclipsed any grudge match we’ve ever had,” says White, who also announced the winner gets the first shot at newly-minted light-heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
“You can tell this is genuine and these guys really don’t like each other and they really want to fight. I don’t think anybody can say that these guys are putting on an act, even though Rampage is now an actor.”
Evans and Jackson coached on The Ultimate Fighter 10 and were set to fight last December after the show. But Jackson decided to play the role of B.A. Baracus in the new A-Team movie instead, drawing the ire of White and Evans and forcing the fight to be postponed until next
White says he’s over his rage for having to cancel the initial fight and the long wait has only made the fighters’ feud
“There’s a lot of bad blood,” says White. “When you get two of the best in the world fighting each other, it’s fun anyway, but when they don’t like each other this much, it makes it that much more fun.”
White says the dislike between the two was evident early on.
“The first minute they walked on set (for The Ultimate Fighter), it escalated from there,” says White.
“The way that I see it is these kind of fights happen every once in a while and this is a sport, but don’t ever fool yourself. This is a fight game and sometimes the guys who fight each other don’t like each other and these two don’t.”
Though neither fighter will admit it, White says they do have some respect for each other.
“I think they both respect each other in ways, but they just don’t like each other,” says White. “You can respect a guy’s game, and his fighting style, and you know what he’s going to bring to the table that night, but that doesn’t mean you have to like him.”