Rashad Evans was never who Dana White intended to be champ of the light-heavyweight division of the UFC.
Obviously Dana "intends" certain people to and not to be champ as much as he can help it, because the bottom line is money. Nothing new there. So how did someone so many fans hate so much end up on top of the division?
That's probably what Dana was thinking when it happened. Rashad was not supposed to beat Forrest Griffin, and he was DEFINITELY not supposed to beat Chuck Liddell.
Rashad was that "cocky" kid who lucked out in some fights, barely snuck by in other fights, and occasionally fought pretty well. Dana admittedly didn't like him on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. I assume Dana fed him to Chuck in order to bring the brash kid's confidence down a level.
He definitely did not intend to knock the hell out of the biggest cash-draw in UFC history.
This was supposed to be a win-win situation for Dana. Rashad loses and goes back to the drawing board, taking another two years to get a shot at the title, if ever. Chuck wins and immediately gets a date with Forrest Griffin, the most popular fighter TUF ever produced.
The Chuck Liddell vs. Forrest Griffin fight is one of the all-time great PPV buys of the UFC, and no matter who loses, the UFC wins.
If Chuck wins, he's got a rematch with Quinton Rampage Jackson, another fan favorite.
If Forrest wins, the torch has been passed a generation, and the UFC has a new hero. Someone who, like Chuck, appeals to the Joe-six-pack masses of blue collar America.
Dana fed Rashad to Chuck as a favor. Rashad stole the favor and gave nothing back. He danced around the cage for the first round, frustrating fans and Chuck alike, probably increasing the number of people who hated him.
After the first round, the thirst of ol' Chuckster's fans for a knockout was monumental. You always want to see Chuck knock someone out, but no one made your blood boil quite like this seriously annoying and overly cautious kid.
And then he dropped the BOOM.
This is what Dana gets for doing favors for fighters. One of the biggest knockouts in combat sports history on his biggest prize fighter of all time.
You win some, you lose some. And sometimes you get smoked.
I'm still baffled as to how Brock Lesnar could waltz into the UFC, lose a fight, win a fight, and then get a shot at the title. That's all right. But it's not all right, in fact it's totally wrong, for the same thing to happen with Bobby Lashley. Where's the logic?
Welcome to the conundrum of Mr. White.
But that's what happens when you try and play god. The world blows up in your face. Look what happened to god, himself. How many religions claim to follow him exclusively?
Dana now has an even bigger problem on his hands. Rashad went on to run over Forrest; Rampage failed to impress in his last bout; Lyoto Machida, who many (or money) consider boring, fought amazingly well; and Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir's fight has been put on hold.
No matter how eloquently the holy books are written, nature has a way of blasting through them. No one could hold Rashad back. And no one can hold Lyoto back. Not anymore.
Like the theory of evolution to religion, these two fighters are going to start a great debate on the sport itself and how to move forward as a fighter, an organization, and as a fan. And not Chuck, Randy Couture, or Jesus-loving Matt Hughes himself is going to rise from the dead in three fights to save the world.
Dana's gotta find a new god to pray to. And he'd better choose wisely.
"This is SPARTA!"