ByJason Nawara, writer at
Jason Nawara

First off — let's get this out of the way: Rashad Evans is only six pounds over the 186-pound limit for middleweight, and he's out there doing media, smiling and overall in a great mood. Maybe it's because he's heading back into the Octagon after getting pulled from UFC 205 and 206 due to failed medicals, and the last few years of his career have been marred with injuries. He's enjoying himself, and taking in the experience. He's the anti-Johny Hendricks.

But, of course, there are real things to talk about. As Rashad heads into his UFC 209 bout against Dan Kelly, there are other subjects looming. Things such as Tyron Woodley's discussion of race relations within the MMA universe, and what it means to be a black athlete in this sport.

"I can empathize with it, and I've been in that situation and I think it may've been worse before. After I beat Chuck Liddell, I had a lot of messages. N-word this, monkey that. This is America. We can't just think that now we know better, that we really know better. My uncle said it to me best — you always gotta pay your color taxes."

To say that Rashad is coming into this fight with nothing to lose is an understatement. He knows he's on borrowed time, and he wasn't even sure he'd be able to make it back to the Octagon.

Now he's here, smiling, and knowing that he's been gifted another lease on his fight life.


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