TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/22: Rashad Evans blocked from fighting by second athletic commission for mystery ailment, Punk news (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Rashad Evans (photo credit Grant Gould © MMATorch)

Rashad Evans may be in worse shape than he’s letting on as a second athletic commission has denied him a license to compete after MRI results showed something worrying to commission doctors.

In the days leading up to UFC 205 in New York, Evans was denied a license after MRI results revealed an undisclosed issue. Evans and UFC were quick to dismiss the issue as minor and Evans’ fight against Tim Kennedy was swiftly rebooked for UFC 206 on Dec 10 from Toronto, Ontario. Now the Ontario commission has declined to approve Evans for a license, again after seeing MRI results.

Despite two athletic commissions in two countries feeling he is unfit to fight, Evans continues to deny that there are any serious issues. “Despite the latest news on not getting a license to fight in Toronto, I am 100 percent healthy,” he said on Twitter. “I will not retire. Thank you for the support.”

The Ontario commission put out a statement through MMAFighting.com showing more concern for Evans’ health than he was. The statement included the following: “The Office of the Athletics Commissioner is responsible for upholding medical requirements, which are put in place to protect the safety of contestants. In regards to the UFC 206 event on Dec. 10, Mr. Evans has not cleared Ontario’s medical licensing requirements. We can confirm that his proposed bout has not been approved, but are unable to comment further on his private and confidential medical information.”

The UFC also released a statement urging Evans to seek out medical attention. The statement reads, “UFC has been notified by the Ontario Athletic Commission that it has declined to approve a license for middleweight Rashad Evans based on the recent medical issue that prohibited him from competing at UFC 205 in New York City. As a result, Evans’ rescheduled bout against Tim Kennedy, set for UFC 206 in Toronto on Saturday, Dec. 10, has subsequently been cancelled. The UFC organization takes the health and safety of all athletes competing under the UFC banner very seriously and has encouraged Evans to take all the appropriate time to consult with his physicians and properly evaluate his medical status prior to scheduling any future bouts.”

Evans seems to be keeping mum about what it is that keeps appearing in these MRIs, but it is sounding worse than he is letting on.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: This is getting a little weird as I can’t remember a fighter being denied by two commissions in this manner in the past. I speculated here two weeks ago that it might be brain/concussion related and that is why Evans is blowing it off because he thinks he feels fine. I hope he takes this as a signal to get proper medical attention for whatever it is before he fights again. He’s 37 years old and has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his career, so I can understand why he would want to fight while he still can, but he needs to take this seriously.

This also shows the disparity between different athletic commissions when it comes to granting licenses. The Texas commission approved Kimbo Slice to fight a few months before his death and Rashad Evans can’t get approved by New York or Ontario for something that could end up being minor, although I suspect it isn’t.


-C.M. Punk told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” Monday that he expects his next fight will be with UFC, maybe early next year. He said he told Dana White that he’s fighting again whether it is for UFC or someone else, which may have forced UFC into a position to use him again after indicating otherwise in order to keep him from signing with a competitor.

-Kelvin Gastelum has been suspended for six-months for failing to show up to weigh-in for his UFC 205 fight against Donald Cerrone that was subsequently cancelled. UFC was considering booking Gastelum against Tim Kennedy on Dec. 10 in Toronto, but the Ontario commission now has the option to honor the New York suspension. (SOURCE)

-The Brazilian commission (CABMMA) has taken an official stance that the Claudia Gadelha kick to the head of a downed Cortney Casey this past Saturday did not connect and that is why the referee did not deduct a point. They also claimed in a statement to MMAFighting.com that Casey “forged the injury.”


-Yair Rodriguez vs. B.J. Penn will headline the January 15 UFC on FS1 show from Phoenix.

-Jussier Formiga vs. Sergio Pettis has also been booked for the Phoenix show.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/21: TUF finalist Manny Gamburyan announces retirement after weekend loss (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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