I did not deceive Rashad Evans - Greg Jackson

ESPN staff
March 23, 2011

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Greg Jackson has totally refuted claims by Rashad Evans that he deceived the former light-heavyweight champion by taking in Jon Jones, but that has not stopped Evans starting up his own team.

Rashad is upset with both Jackson and Jones, the former for allegedly taking Jones under his wing against Evans' will, and the latter for breaking their word of honour by admitting he would fight Evans if asked by the UFC.

Jackson appears to be getting the greater criticism though, with suggestions that he dropped his interest in Evans in order to promote the supposed man of the future, Jon Jones. It is a suggestion that is completely rejected by Jackson, who still intends to stay out of it when the pair collide for the light-heavyweight title.

"I love Rashad to death," Jackson told MMA Fighting this week. "I'm not sure why he's angry at me. I don't have any animosity towards him. I've always tried to help him out. I was with him right after he won that reality show all the way to his world title. I'm not sure what it is.

"The thing with Rashad is, he said he was OK with Jon coming on the team. I felt that Jon did the wrong thing by saying he would fight Rashad. But once they signed to fight, I'm staying out of it. I'm not choosing Rashad over Jon Jones or Jon Jones over Rashad; I'm staying out of the entire thing. Everybody signed on to [Jon] being on the team. It wasn't like I brought him on with these evil intentions. I bring a lot of training partners on to the team who are in the same weight class. For instance, Donald Cerrone, Melvin Guillard, Clay Guida - all these guys are in the same division."

Evans is now intent on looking after himself in the future, insisting he will no longer be a team player after having his trust broken.

"In all honesty I'm going to create my own camp from here on out because I'm not going to get bit again," Evans told Bloody Elbow. "The one thing I'm finding out over the course of this situation is that this is a business. It's no longer what it used to be or how it was when I got into the sport or when Greg Jackson got into the sport. Before it was much more of a brotherly connection, wanting to see your team-mates do well and to get in there because you really loved training together.

"There was a much better connection but now it's business and it's about money and has turned into a lot of things it has never been about for me. Now that it's become that way to me in some respect I'm going to do my own thing. I don't need to have a team around me and I'll bring in what I need. I'm not going to be a team guy anymore.

"I have a secret weapon in all of this. One of my coaches who has done all of his work behind the scenes and without recognition is Mike Van Arsdale. He is one of the best coaches I've ever had in my life and he doesn't get any credit for what he has done. As long as I have Mike Van Arsdale I don't care where I have to train or who I have to fight because I know Mike is going to get me ready.

"For my last few fights it's been Mike Van Arsdale and Trevor Whittman. I'm still going to work with Trevor as well but Mike Van Arsdale has really been that dude to me. He's been that dude the entire time and without Mike it don't matter. Jones can have whoever he wants. Take Mike Winkeljohn. Take Greg Jackson. He can have whoever he wants and take the entire team."

Jackson insists he does not want a slanging match with Evans, but he maintains his door remains open for both Evans and Jones in the future.

"Rashad is coming straight at me, [saying] 'Greg Jackson did this and Greg Jackson did that.' I'm the one that's not choosing. I'm staying neutral. I'm not going to tell you you can't fight. You're both grown-ass men. I'm not the boss of either of you, and I'm not your dad."

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