Evans-Jackson Postponed Until Early 2010

By Loretta Hunt Sep 8, 2009
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s big break has broken up a headlining bout against Rashad Evans at UFC 107.

Jackson and Evans, rival coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 10” debuting Sept. 16 on Spike TV, will no longer face off in a culminating bout on Dec. 12 in Memphis, Tenn., where Jackson hails from.

Evans was notified Saturday that his headlining light heavyweight bout with Jackson will be postponed until early 2010, as Jackson begins shooting a lead role in the feature film remake of “The A-Team” in Vancouver, British Columbia. The 31-year-old Jackson will reprise the role of “B.A. Baracus,” made famous by iconic personality Mr. T in the 1980s.

Numerous outlets, including U.K-based “The Sun,” have reported on the jeopardized bout for the last few weeks, and UFC President Dana White even voiced his disdain for Jackson’s moonlighting aspirations at UFC 102 in late August.

The UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding the postponed bout. Evans said White exerted all efforts to preserve the matchup, which will be heavily promoted for the next 12 weeks on Spike TV during the series.

“It’s definitely off on the 12th,” Evans told host Bruce Buffer on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “It’s Time” show Tuesday. “I am (going to fight him), but not when I’m supposed to. He’s kind of getting sidetracked taking other opportunities above fighting.”

Evans, who lost the light heavyweight title to Lyoto Machida via a vicious second-round knockout at UFC 98 last May, said he hasn’t been given a replacement date yet.

“They haven’t nailed down any dates, but they did say it would happen after the new year,” said Evans. “I think they we’re waiting to speak with Quinton’s guys to see when exactly he feels he should be ready.”

The UFC has already scheduled a Jan. 2 bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will likely follow it up with another event in town around Superbowl weekend.

Jackson’s withdrawal leaves a headlining slot vacant on Dec. 12. A lightweight championship bout between B.J. Penn and (presumably) Diego Sanchez has been moved to the date, though fans are expecting another big-name tilt to fill the void. The UFC is also currently trying to lock down a main-event bout to anchor its UFC 105 card on Nov. 14 in Manchester, England.

Evans, 29, said he would be open to fighting another opponent on Dec. 12 if necessary. However, he seemed doubtful the promotion would supersede the original bout between the two former light heavyweight champions.

“If it couldn’t happen at all, I would definitely want to fight somebody else,” said Evans, “but I know the UFC definitely has a lot invested in us fighting each other. It makes no sense for us to fight somebody else because then all that they have created is just a waste.”

Evans said he was disappointed and “let down” by the development, and that it called into question the “trust and respect” between the various players.

If faced with the same decision, Evans said he would have kept his commitment to the UFC and Spike TV.

“I would stick with my obligations and do the fight,” said Evans. “I know he has this amazing opportunity to do this acting, but at the same time, at the end of the day he’s still just going to be a fighter. He’s not going to be an actor. He’s a fighter. That’s what he does. We all want to branch off and do different things because we never know when this is going to end, but you have to remember what’s paying the bills for you at this particular time.”
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