The past few months have been a bit rocky for Rashad Evans. He was set to fight at UFC 205 in his home state of New York, but was pulled from the card just 4 days before he was to step into the cage.
The New York State Athletic Commission refused to license Rashad when they found something alarming on a pre-fight MRI exam. Not only was he pulled from that card, but the Ontario Athletic Commission also refused to license him for UFC 206, citing the same exam.
There was even some talk that the exam in question could have led to him having to hang up the gloves for good. But luckily that is not the case, and “Sugar” has been cleared to return. He will be stepping into the octagon once again at UFC 209, this according to ESPN..
According to Rashad, it was all a misunderstanding.
“The radiologist read pretty much the same radiology exam and then he gave two different assessments of it. In 2013, he said it was absolutely fine, there’s nothing. And then in 2016, looking at pretty much the same identical image, he said I had new changes, which to the commission was like, wait, if you have new changes with your brain MRI, then your brain is still injured and you can’t compete. But upon further review and having everything looked at and tested up the wazoo, it was pretty clear what happened. And it was just a radiologist not doing his due diligence. But, at the end of day it cost me, and it is what it is, but I was able to put it behind me and move forward.”
Evans (19-5-1) will be taking on Dan Kelly (12-1) in what will be Evans’ middleweight debut. Kelly, 39, has won 3 in a row and welcomes the chance for the biggest win of his career.
For Rashad, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, he is looking to rebound after dropping two straight.
UFC 209 is headlined by the rematch of UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley defending his title against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. It takes place March 4th from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Live on Pay-Per-View.