It was all fun and games when Rampage and Rashad were just trading stinky breath / knockout / quitter quips with eachother on TUF, but over the past week and a half, Rashad Evans has been trying to bring race to the forefront, basically saying he doesn’t like the way Rampage is black.
“It bothers me because I have actually had conversations with him and he is a pretty smart dude. He plays it like he doesn’t know anything like, “What that word mean?” or “Dana I can’t read that“ or “Dana I can’t do math”. Just little stuff like that and I know why he is doing it, he thinks [its funny to act like] ‘Oh I’m black, I’m country, I don’t know nothin’”, that’s the stereotype he is perpetuating,” Evans fumed.
“If you watch Rampage, all his antics are about perpetuating stereotypes. “This is gonna be some black on black crime!” – why’s it gotta be crime? You saying we can’t just be two fighters? Or you saying that all black people are criminals and when we fight its crime? Its just ignorant and its stupid and for me it’s a ‘Sambo’, ‘[black and white] minstrel’ kind of move.”
Warming to his theme, the Greg Jackson fighter continued: “He tries to be like that, he tries to fit all the stereotypes. “Oh black people, they’re funny, they’re mean looking”, all that stuff, and for me its like “Be you”, you know? He is naturally a funny person but all the ‘I’m stupid’ kind of stuff bothers me because he is not stupid at all, he understands a lot more than he lets on.
“Its just bothersome man. It bothers me as a black man because being in a sport and being black, you have got to pay your colour taxes you know? And in being in a sport that is white-dominated you have a lot of fans coming in that are a bit racist and have certain views. One way you can chance that is just be you and be normal, and don’t pursue the stereotypes. And that’s what he does he falls into that, ‘Oh black people don’t speak proper English, they say this and they act like that, they are not that smart’ – he fits every single stereotype to the teeth and he has no problem with it, he likes that.”
Personally I think the whole thing is largely bullshit and just another attempt to get into Rampage’s head. Here’s how he responded to the charges during yesterday’s press conference:
Rampage says he doesn’t care about race at all. His main thing is to entertain people. Says that he got emotional when Rashad got in his face and he reacted with the “black on black crime” line. It was a heat of the moment thing. Rashad says it’s a good thing that two black fighters are in the main event of a card of this magnitude. Says that Rashad perpetuates stereotypes sometimes. Rampage says that’s his opinion and if he wants to make it a race issue when they are the same race, that just shows what kind of person Rashad is. Says he’s going to be him, be real and go on with his life. Says it doesn’t bother him at all.
It’s also worth noting that Rampage has been throwing around that ‘black on black crime’ line for years … he pulled it out several times before and after his fight with Kevin Randleman fight in 2003 and again when he was set to face off against Marvin Eastman. It’s one of his big go-to jokes, alongside the omnipresent stanky breath / body lines. If you’re gonna accuse him of something, why not nail him for recycling all his lines rather than calling him an Uncle Tom?