Rashad Evans: ‘ I feel a duty to say I support gay marriage and gay rights.’

Rashad Evans, the one-time UFC light heavyweight champion, made his position on same-sex marriage clear. He's for it, because equality in the world makes it better for everyone.

When asked by Outsports of his thoughts on the issue, Evans issued this incredibly smart, well-thought-out response. His statement in full:

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“I've never been a homophobe, never understood what that is all about. I knew some people who were gay and never cared about their sexuality. But at the same time, I didn't fully understand the issues around gay people until my friend BA started telling me about his full public support for gay marriage. We talked about the issue and I decided its not enough to not be against a minority, if you want things to go better for them you have to speak up with them.

“I'm a UFC fighter, a macho-type sport. I am a heterosexual guy in a tough macho sport, which is exactly the reason I feel a duty to say I support gay marriage and gay rights.

“I have nothing to gain personally from supporting this issue, and that's the point. Society as a whole is better when there is equality, and I want to live in a country where everyone has the same rights because we all benefit from that.

“What people overlook is that is isn't a sex issue, its a love issue. There's no justifiable reason for trying to get in the way of two people who love each other.

“I have kids. I don't want them growing up in a society where they, or their friends, could be second class citizens based on which person they fall in love with or who they want to be happy with.”

As he pointed out, the MMA world can be a macho place where instances of homphobia are overlooked. The sport has improved, as Liz Carmouche became the first gay fighter in the UFC when she fought Ronda Rousey at UFC 157. The same weekend Carmouche fought, UFC president Dana White said he would welcome a gay male fighter, and would deal with any fighter who would have a problem with it.

But well-known former champion standing up for marriage equality shows that the MMA world is one that can be welcoming and supportive.