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Rashad Evans out of fight with Tim Kennedy again due to commission issue

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Rashad Evans can't seem to get a license from an athletic commission.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion is out of his fight with Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto, Kennedy told Ariel Helwani on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour. Evans' manager Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed to Helwani in a subsequent interview that the fight was indeed off.

Kennedy said the Office of the Athletics Commission in Ontario stopped Evans from getting a license to compete in the province, much like the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) would not license him in its state for UFC 205 earlier this month.

Abdel-Aziz said the Ontario commission is one of the toughest and they "don't even like MMA." The UFC is working on getting Evans back in the cage early in 2017, the manager said.

"He's fine, guys," Abdel-Aziz said. "Rashad is fine. There's nothing wrong with him."

A request for comment from the Ontario commission was not immediately returned Monday. A request for confirmation from the UFC was also no immediately returned.

Evans was supposed to face Kennedy on the Madison Square Garden card in New York, but the NYSAC put its foot down the week of the fight due to an issue with his MRI, Evans said. Evans also said he passed follow-up tests and has been cleared by numerous other commissions despite the alleged issue.

"I'm disappointed," Evans told MMA Fighting two weeks ago. "I'm healthy. I don't want anyone worrying about me. I'm fine, physically speaking. Never felt better. It's just the commission and their rules. I guess they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this."

The NYSAC issued the following statement to MMA Fighting on Nov. 9. regarding Evans' inability to get a license:

Mr. Evans' license application was denied for medical reasons based upon Commission policies that are designed to protect the health and safety of professional combatants in New York State. Due to confidentiality and privacy laws, the Commission will not comment further.

Kennedy, who has not fought in more than two years, said on The MMA Hour that the UFC is seeking a replacement opponent for him at UFC 206. Kennedy weighed in for UFC 205 to get his show money, but Evans was pulled too close to the fight for the UFC to find someone to fill in.

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