But when you want your sport to be recognized by the mainstream, you have to accept the criticism from those same outlets. Rome did just that Thursday, blasting former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans on ESPN's Rome Is Burning.
After saying that he was surprised that an athlete's comments can still shock him, Rome led into a clip of Evans making the infamous comment about Penn State to Phil Davis from Wednesday's UFC On Fox 2 press conference and then unleashed the following. Thanks to Fight Opinion for the assist on transcription from the audio available here (6:00 mark in):
"Rashad, you’ve got to be kidding me. What is that, other than totally insensitive and just dumb? Guys have run regrettable smack before. David Haye saying that his fight with Audley Harrison was going to be ‘as one-sided as gang rape’ immediately comes to mind but you, my man, might be the new standard bearer.
Look, I get that these guys are in hype mode and the blood starts to flow at these pressers. I just don’t care. You can’t say you’re going to do to your opponent what Jerry Sandusky allegedly did to these kids. Not that I haven’t done this 100 times already before but memo to all athletes — there’s certain things you cannot ever talk junk about. Ever. Keep all references to 9/11 and Hitler out of your mouths and, I never thought I’d have to say it, but you can officially add Jerry Sandusky to that list as well.
Look, I work in smack for a living. I put food on my family’s table with smack. Smack is the family business, so I know smack and that’s some of the worst smack I’ve ever heard."
White said that he spoke with Evans, calling the remark "one of the dumbest things you can say" but had no plans to further reprimand him. With the Thursday release of Miguel Torres for an ill-conceived tweet, it's been quite a week for fighters saying the wrong things.