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Rashad Evans issues statement after latest KO loss, Dana White says the former UFC champ is retiring

While Evans didn’t quite manage to put it down in writing, Dana White told the assembled media at the UFC 225 post-fight press conference that the former Light Heavyweight champion is hanging up the gloves.

Even if he’s not quite ready to say it himself, it’s sounding a lot like fans may have seen Rashad Evans compete in the Octagon for the last time. The former UFC light heavyweight champion took on Anthony Smith at UFC 225, returning to the 205 lb weight class for the first time since dropping to middleweight back in 2017. The return to his championship weight did him no favors, however. Smith knocked out Evans just under a minute into the first round, handing ‘Suga’ his 5th straight loss, and dropping him down to 2-6 since losing his title to Jon Jones back in 2012.

After the event, Evans took to Instagram with a lengthy post that danced around – without actually spelling it out – the idea that his time as a professional fighter may be over.

“At one time FIGHTING was bigger than LIFE,” Evans wrote on the social media platform. “Now LIFE is bigger than FIGHTING. It was easy to FIGHT for me because I came into this world raising hell FIGHTING. Then LIFE over time swaddled me like a parent does a screaming child and calmed me until I could see there was nothing to scream about. LIFE reveals to us all one day its beauty and its GRACE. Part of its beauty and GRACE is SURRENDER.

“Not SURRENDER in the way we think but a yielding nature that allows LIFE’S true beauty to be seen without non attachment. Only through non attachment can we truly see the beauty of LIFE and its random but beautiful balance. Our attachments in LIFE gives us the pain that make LIFE unbearable at times. Those attachments keeps us all pretending to some degree even though we are scared to death of what tomorrow can bring.

“I am at peace at what happened last night. I am a true FIGHTER at heart and there is no greater peace than when I get a chance to bare my soul for millions to see. 24 times I was successful and I experienced heights I never would’ve dreamed were possible and 8 times I came up short. Those 8 times I came up short laid the true seeds of growth as a person. In each one of my defeats I learned more about LIFE which made me into the person I was destined to be.

“I thank my opponent Anthony Smith for giving me yet another chance to grow as a person. As for my future I do not know where I will go from here but I never did know anyways. I was just making it up as I went along. I joke but in reality that is the truth. In actuality none of us know what is ahead from one moment to the next. We all just hope it’s something we want. Sometimes it is something we want and some times it isn’t. But the secret in LIFE is accepting both as if you chose them. Which is true Alchemy.

“In the End what will be will be because that is all LIFE has ever been. Everything else is an illusion of the mind. I am well and I am beyond blessed for those of you waiting to text to me and don’t know what to say.. (the first text is always awkward after someone has been ko’d). ‘Do I say good job, nice try, I love you or everything will be ok’ Have a blessed day.” (edited for clarity)

But, if Rashad wasn’t willing to quite come out and say it, Dana White was there to do the job for him. At the post-fight press conference for UFC 225, the UFC president addressed the assembled media, where he revealed that Evans sat down with him shortly after his loss and told him he was hanging up the gloves (transcript via MMA Fighting).

“When he lost, I had him come back to my room,” White told reporters. “We hung out and talked, and yeah, it’s sad. Rashad was on season two of The Ultimate Fighter, so he was around through the whole building of this company. We all get old, man, and this is a young man’s sport. But if you look at what he [did], he won The Ultimate Fighter, he became a world champion, he [built] this team where he was like the guy and built all these young up-and-coming fighters. He’s been in big, huge fights.

“He’s been on the ride with us the whole way and he got to close it out in his hometown of Chicago, so not a bad run.”

“Yeah, he did. Yeah,” White further clarified, when asked specifically if Evans said hew as retiring. “Again, I don’t want to stomp on his — if he was going to retire or whatever, I don’t want to steal the thunder from him.

“And obviously after a fight like that, he’s super emotional too. So yeah, I hope he does.”

As anyone who’s followed combat sports long enough knows, retirements are often impermanent. There’s a solid chance that, given enough time, Evans will start feeling the ‘itch’ to compete again and we’ll see him back in the cage. But for the moment, at least, it sounds like Evans days in the Octagon are over.

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