Props: Las Vegas Sun
"I really never tell anybody my story, it's kind of something I use for personal motivation. But a lot of those kids may be going through something like I went through and it's good for them to know they're not alone.... Just because you don't always come from the best circumstances doesn't mean you can't persevere and come out on top.... I used to be so poor, I would go to school just to eat lunch. Other kids made fun of my clothes. I wasn't clean all the time. It was hard for me growing up — I had a lot of anger inside.... I had friends, that had parents that didn't want me hanging out with their kids. They'd tell me, 'I don't want you hanging out with my son. You're a bad seed and you're going nowhere. You'll end up in prison.... It's easy to go through the day-to-day motions and get consumed by a new lifestyle. But you can't forget where you came from."
Rashad Evans recently shared his path to one-time UFC light heavyweight champion and mixed martial arts star underprivileged kids at the Boys Town Nevada center in North Las Vegas. "Sugar," who grew up in Niagara, N.Y., detailed how he found salvation in sports as a child, which helped him overcome poverty and other childhood challenges. He admits that he doesn't often share intimate details of the experience with others. Instead, he uses it to motivate himself to perform his best inside the Octagon. And he'll need to be in top form if he intends to topple Thiago Silva at UFC 108 on Jan. 2 and all the other exceptional fighters in the talent-rich 205-pound weight class.