Tag:Rashad Evans
Posted on: May 29, 2009 5:28 am

Color Blind: Evans/Jackson is big story

Look for it in the headlines: nope. Try even the MMA section: Notta. There's no reason for this. Scratch that, no excuse .

With so much attention devoted to the joke that was Jose Canseco's MMA circus-bout this past Tuesday, you'd think that when some legitimate news comes out of the sport, major sports media outlets would jump on the opportunity. Nevertheless, when news broke Thursday via UFC President Dana White that "Sugar" Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson would be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter followed by a long-anticipated fight between the two, the news is quieter than the eye of a hurricane in some places.

Now on the fighter's own merits, this is a newsworthy clash by itself. Evans is an elite wrestler out of Michigan State who was previously undefeated in the UFC until Sunday, when he dropped the UFC Light Heavyweight belt to karate ace Lyoto Machida. Evans won heavyweight division of The Ultimate Fighter 2 , and went on to defeat future UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Lidell, and also holds victories over two other Ultimate Fighter winners, Forrest Griffin and Michael Bisping.

Meanwhile, Jackson, a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion himself, is no stranger to success. He's won eight of his last nine fights, including victories over Liddell, former Pride Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson, and Wanderlei Silva, all top fighters in their divisions at some point in time. He's won Knockout of the Night or Fight of the Night honors in four of his last fight bouts as well, notorious for finishing fights in exciting fashion typically. Jackson is also known for famously powerbombing Ricardo Arona in 2004 during his stint with Pride, something you might see the Undertaker do at Wrestlemania.

On top of that, the two are tremendous personalities in what will make for one of the more exciting seasons of the show. When Jackson beat Keith Jardine earlier this year, one of Evans best friends, the jabber-jawing began. Evans has made gestures during and after his fights that have garnered him a reputation as being cocky, while Jackson is one of the most colorful personalities in the sport. His howl is almost notorious as now is his run in with the law. Last summer, Jackson was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony reckless driving, and felony hit and run, some of which he has not been sentenced for yet and could face jail time. Videos of the high speed chase that culminated in his arrest are floating around the Internet. These two don't lack personalities, and should deliver big time for entertainment.

All of this underlies one of the biggest storylines of all, a card which really hasn't been played yet in MMA history: race. When Tony Dungy became the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl, it was one of the biggest angles taken by the media even before, and then after the game. We're comparing apples to oranges here with the two events, but nevertheless, this is news. Two African American fighters near this caliber have gone toe-to-toe in such an anticipated bout in this sport, one of the driving reasons that White surely put this bout together. This isn't Kimbo Slice, folks. Not only are Jackson and Evans ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the world by Sherdog.com in the most recent light heavyweight rankings, they're in the Top 10 pound-for-pound . Translation: these guys are good.

While ESPN doesn't per say have extensive coverage of MMA, they are connected to Sherdog, the leader and most respected source for MMA news, and you could find the news there. They hold shows now after UFC cards featuring UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian and a panel of others, and normally you can find winners of big fights run across the ticker. Coverage is getting better.

Here at CBSSports, there is absolutely no sign of the news. Anywhere. To its credit, the site publishes one of the best event previews on the World Wide Web for UFC events and some good opinions. There's no excuse though when a message board is breaking news and hours later there's no trace of this.

The question of race is likely going to come up in an interview of these two fighters, but that won't even be the reason that blood boils between these two leading up to what will be a fight between the two around December. But here's the chance for everyone to pull the race card in a good way. These two are great fighters have and will make history, and someone has a responsibility to broadcast that. So if you haven't heard yet, now you have.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com