Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has become the latest high-profile athlete to add his autograph to a petition created to persuade the United States Supreme Court to put an end to bans against gay marriage. The document was filed by NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo.
After registering his support for the movement, Evans spoke with Outsports, a website and forum delivering on the passions of homosexual sports enthusiasts, about his decision and stance on the issue.
I have nothing to gain personally from supporting this issue, and that's the point. Society as a whole is better when there is equality, and I want to live in a country where everyone has the same rights because we all benefit from that.
"Suga," who is coming off a loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, also noted that the common perception linked to his line of work—professional fighting—makes it all the more necessary for him to vocalize his beliefs.
"I am a heterosexual guy in a tough macho sport, which is exactly the reason I feel a duty to say I support gay marriage and gay rights," he said.
But more than the social implications, Evans pointed to his personal life as the driving force behind his desire to support the petition.
I have kids. I don't want them growing up in a society where they, or their friends, could be second class citizens based on which person they fall in love with or who they want to be happy with.
Evans' strong stance on such a polarizing topic is likely to generate much discussion in the MMA world. It may even bring some attention to the larger debate regarding gay marriage.
It will be interesting to see whether any other well-known fighters from the "macho sport" of MMA follow suit or add to the wider discussion.