“The collateral damage” of Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans

Caught in the middle of all this are the teammates of Jones, who at one time or another were almost all teammates of Rashad Evans.

“It’s tough. I hate to even put those guys in that position. Some times it’s been kind of a rift, and they let me know like ‘yo, you know what I kind of feel like it’s a little problem cause I got loyalty to you and at the same time I’m on the same team as Jon,’” Evans explained.

“It sucks that it even has to be that way, but the stage was set for it to happen. I feel bad for everybody else that gets caught in the collateral damage.”

Current Team Jackson fighter Brian Stann looks on the whole situation with a clear vision of how tough it’s been for the team. No one wanted to see two former friends and teammates fight, much less have it turn into such an emotionally charged situation.

“This fight is really bittersweet. It’s just tough all around. Jon is a really good kid, everybody loves him. Rashad is a great guy, who helped build that gym,” Stann said. “He grew up with the original guys who had blood, sweat, and tears. I mean him, Keith (Jardine), Joey (Villasenor), Nate (Marquardt), and so it’s really difficult.

“Nobody was looking to take sides, nobody wants either friendship to dissolve, everybody’s just excited for this fight to happen, get over with it, and be in the past.”

Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson has been with Team Jackson since his start in MMA, and he looks at Evans like a big brother, and still considers him part of the team whether he ever trains there again or not.

“I don’t care what people are saying that he’s not part of the Jackson’s family,” Dodson told MMAWeekly Radio. “I still consider him to be part of the team, and so should everyone else.”

Of course some team members have been hurt by this Jones/Evans saga, and the talk that has turned nasty over the course of the last year or so.

Ricky Kottenstette, who has acted as Jackson’s team general manager for several years and literally grew up under Jackson since his teenage years, isn’t as diplomatic as his coach. He’s taken some of the things Evans has said about the team to heart, and doesn’t really see a way for this to be over without hurt feelings remaining.

“Frankly, I’m tired of hearing him bash Greg Jackson. My feelings behind it is I can’t wait for this thing to be over cause I’m tired of hearing him complain about how he was wronged by Greg. Greg cared about Rashad, and thought the world about Rashad, and it’s like he’s orchestrated this attack on Greg. To me, it’s a big blow. It bothers me and Greg always takes the high road, and he’s hurt by it. Rashad’s just been attacking and attacking, and he’s to the point now where he won’t even look at Greg,” Kottenstette told MMAWeekly.com.

“I kind of take it personal, Greg’s a better man than me, but I’m looking forward to the fight being done.”

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