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Dana White questions whether Keith Jardine wants to be a champion

UFC President Dana White had some choice words for UFC light heavyweight Keith Jardine in Wednesday’s edition of the USA Today.

White was asked to respond to a Yahoo! Sports interview in which Jardine made it clear that he has no intentions of fighting training partner and UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.

Jardine specifically said that he would not fight Evans, who he also referred to as one of his best friend, should he defeat Quinton “Rampage” Jackson this Saturday during the main event of UFC 96. He went on to say he gets asked all the time about a potential matchup between the two but that he has no interest in the fight.

Count White as someone who disagrees with that philosophy.

“This isn’t basketball or football,” the UFC President is quoted. “You’re not part of a team. Do you want to be the champ? If Rashad’s got that belt, what are you going to do – sit your whole career out and wait for Rashad to retire?

“I disagree with that. And I have to their face many times… Their careers are going to cross paths. And when they do, they’re going to have to fight.””

As of now, the conflict appears to be moot. If Jardine upsets Jackson, Evans is instead expected to defend his title at UFC 100 against Lyoto Machida. Jardine also indicated in the Yahoo! Sports interview that he would have no problem moving back up to heavyweight

  • mmaking says:

    Jardine has respect for Rashad. Something Dana knows nothing about. Dana is a dush bag for calling out Jardine!!!

    Dana = Vince McMahon

  • Angry Mike says:

    Dana has a point. I’m sure a lot of guys in other, solo sports like golf, NASCAR, and track and field are friends, and in those sports they compete head to head. One of them wins, and the other loses. The idea of MMA fighters not fighting is bizarre. It’s pretty irrelevant in Jardine’s case anyway. He’s not the number one contender even if he upsets Jackson. He’d still have to beat Machida, and so does Jackson. The only reason Jackson’s getting a title shot ahead of Machida is fan popularity or drawing power.

  • GetItOn says:

    What you did not mention in this article is that Jardine also stated that when they come to that crossroads someday then we’ll see what happens. He has not ruled out the idea of fighting Evans 100%, he’s just not personally interested in fighting his friend.

  • JollyDV says:

    I don’t think you can compare MMA with golf,NASCAR, etc. MMA is hand to hand combat, it requires you to inflict pain on another person. Also, you have to think about how hard it would be for both fighters as well as their gym. Who gets Jackson in their corner the night of the fight? How can you train daily with a guy, and then go into the octagon later? The team/gym would be split down the middle and though MMA is not a “team” sport, it requires a team to train a fighter.

  • KTru says:

    dush bag? I am guessing you mean “douche”

    All fighters have respect for each other. DW is right on about this not being a “team sport”. Jardine is not necessarily avoiding Rashad. He just cannot climb high enough on the tower. Jardine may be a top ten LHW in the UFC, but will never reach the pinnacle. Some place that Rashad will be for years.

  • Cathedron says:

    I know it sounds really respectable when fighters say they won’t fight a team mate, but I gotta agree with Dana on this one. It’s not like you have to hate each other to fight. Good friends fight all the time in combat sports. Hell, you fight all the time during training if you have the same camp. I understand how annoying it would be to switch training camps or make big adjustments in order to properly prepare for someone who you’ve trained with many times before, but I don’t think that’s enough of an excuse.

  • wardog says:

    If he doesn’t want to fight him then so be it. He wins and Rashad looses to Machida (please God please!) then he doesn’t get a title shot for a couple of fights, the same as if Rashad had still held the belt. I respect their idea of being a training partner and friend, but hey Dana signs the checks!

  • cheard says:

    If he doesn’t want to fight Rashad then he shoudn’t be fighting a top contender. All he is doing is getting in the way of someone that wants to fight and get PAID. TOP PAY= THE BELT

  • MMASwami says:

    DW is right on the money but I can respect training partners desire not to fight each other.

  • king mah mah says:

    I’m getting tired of all these whiny athletes. Maybe I should try telling my boss I don’t want to do my job?! I wonder how many people would get away with that? When was it ever an employees decision on who they worked with?

    Now I can see having some suggestions on who you would like to fight, but not flat out saying you won’t fight a particular person. You’re a professional athlete! Start acting like it Jardine!

  • Nate_Fury says:

    I don’t think Jardine gets any respect and he is highly underrated. After UFC 96 saturday night, perhaps Jardine will gain at least a measure of much deserved respect and will prove everyone wrong. I am going with Jardine to get a UD over Rampage. If puch comes to shove Jardine and Evans will have no problem fighting eachother. I don’t think they will have to though, because after Jardine beats Rampage, Machida will go on to take the belt from Evans anyway.


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