When UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones faces Rashad Evans at April's UFC 145, it will be a major moment between two rivals and a fight that many have waited to finally see unfold after a variety of injuries repeatedly set things back.
If you listen to UFC president Dana White, ESPN has become somewhat of a rival for him since the promotion's deal with Fox was announced, but that didn't stop the Worldwide Leader In Sports from covering the Jones vs. Evans beef in their recent issue that focuses on rivalries, out on newsstands now and also available online.
Entitled "Enemies With Benefits", the story briefly touches on the Jones/Evans backstory with a heavy focus on White's role in "orchestrating the breakup" and how the rise in top fight teams has prevented the UFC from putting together top fights between guys in those camps.
From writer Ryan McGee's piece:
What's good for (Greg) Jackson's camp, though, is bad business for White, who has always insisted that No. 1 contenders challenge champions, regardless of team affiliation. In Evans and Jones, White saw a chance to make a stand against camp culture. So he started working on both men, especially Evans, who badly wanted to retrieve the title belt he lost in a fight to Lyoto Machida in 2009.
"I told Rashad, 'Those guys at camp are your friends; you like hanging out with them,'" White says. "But camp is not your family. All athletes have a very small window of opportunity to make money and achieve great things in front of millions so they're remembered when it's over. You're going to put that on a shelf because of your 'friends' and your training camp 'family'? When s-- goes wrong, do you think they're going to help you pay your bills? No."
White warned both fighters that the day was coming when they would have no choice but to fight. Neither paid much attention, publicly reaffirming their friendship vows until Jones casually mentioned in a TV interview in March 2011 that if White ever forced him, maybe he would fight his mentor. That one "maybe" was the first landed blow at the firewall around the friendship -- and their New Mexico camp. Evans took the comment to heart. Those seeds of doubt White had planted had taken root.
The article then completely shifts to talking about rivalries between friends in the NBA, NASCAR and NCAA track and field before adding a few MMA paragraphs at the end, so take the overall tone and structure for what it's worth.