In the cluttered world of digital media, everyone wants to be a firebrand. A shocking or ostentatious opinion article can easily boost your page views or make you a Twitter sensation. The latest attempt from Yahoo’s Kevin Iole is entitled “Evans’ sniveling detracts from thrilling matchup.”
His new column is a weak attempt to siphon some of the excitement from the upcoming Jon Jones title defense against Rashad Evans. Despite Iole’s flashy title, he never actually explains how Evans’ attitude is taking anything away from the fight. He simply posits that Dana White has created another masterpiece and everyone, including Evans, should bow down in thanks.
Iole does say that Evans “is a little pouty these days” and implies that he is acting “a little wimpy.” He ends with the pithy one liner: “it’s just a cost of doing business. It’s sure not worth whining about.”
How does he expect Evans to act? Whether you agree with teammates fighting each other or not, he feels like he has been betrayed. When people feel like they have been betrayed, they get angry and say charged things like “I feel disrespected by Jon, because when I think about when we trained together or when we were chilling, was the [expletive] even real?” (BloodyElbow)
That is genuine human emotion. Everyone in the world can empathize with Evans’ situation, because everyone has been in a similar situation.
A proud and emotional man is driven to fight because he feels slighted and disrespected. Isn’t that the kind of raw reaction that Americans are attracted to these days? Isn’t that why my girlfriend watches five hours of “Real Housewives” every week? Isn’t that why my friends from high school continually check my Facebook page to see what I am doing?
Everyone, including Iole, lauded and excused Jorge Rivera’s campaign against Michael Bisping. Apparently, manufactured tension to hype a fight is fine, because it is fake. His manager, Lex McMahon, referred to his bevy of YouTube videos as “marketing and gamesmanship.”
When reflecting on the Rivera’s fight with Bisping, Iole said, “Bisping was right to be angry, but you have to take it for what it was. Rivera, on the upper level, is on the outside looking in. He is trying to get himself noticed in the UFC, trying to get some attention in the UFC.”
Evans is not trying to get any attention. He is not trying to drum up pay-per-view numbers. He is legitimately incensed, and he will bring that into the cage with him whenever he meets Jones for the title. This should excite fight fans and pundits, even ones who work for Yahoo.
Iole might think Evans’ attitude detracts from the fight. In reality, in a sport as primal as fighting, pure emotion can almost never be a negative. If Rivera’s videos are partially hydrogenated corn syrup, then Evan’s attitude is pure sugar.