Greg Jackson, Jon Jones, Mike Winklejohn. Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Rivalry, betrayal, and a friendship gone sour has the mark of a Hollywood movie, and if the actors really convey their parts well, you're pretty much assured a money maker. Now take out the actors, and replace them with fighters. Add some gasoline to the fire, in the form of a former coach, and now you've got a blockbuster to kick off the summer.
Does this storyline sound familiar? It should. It's happening right now. Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, is locked in to fight current champ, Jon Jones at UFC 145, but their battle began over a year ago, when Evans left Jackson's MMA over a much publicized dispute with Greg Jackson and Jones.
Jackson's MMA head striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn's recent comments to Ari LeVaux took the tale up a notch. He states, in no uncertain terms, that because Evans "threw Jackson under the bus" numerous times, he helped Greg make up his mind to go ahead and corner Jones in his upcoming bout with Evans.
I find that the most telling quote of the interview was this one:
"I was always going to corner Jon because I was working with Jon since almost day 1 here, and Rashad had left camp, and Rashad is actually cool with that. We've spoken many times and he understands that everybody is out there to make a living, do their thing and we've got a good rapport.
"But he upset me in that he kept throwing Greg under the bus. Enough's enough. You have your disagreements, I understand that, but there's more important things out there and it's time for Greg to work in Jon's corner."
It shows me that the lines have been drawn, and choices were made. I have to wonder, if Evans defies the odds, and reclaims his title, will Jackson's coaches still be taking the hard line with Sugar?