Earlier this week, when it was announced that Phil Davis had been injured and would no longer be able to face Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 133, former champion Lyoto Machida was heavily rumored to be the man who would step up and face “Suga” in his place.
Turns out, not so much.
UFC president Dana White explained today during an impromptu conference call that Machida accepted the bout, but then reneged and asked for “Anderson Silva money,” which White would not grant him. Another former champion, Tito Ortiz, took the fight and all was right in the world again, but Lyoto Machida wanted to say his piece.
“I wanted a guarantee to fight [Evans at UFC 133],” Machida told Sherdog.com. “My manager, ‘Joinha’ [Jorge Guimaraes], called me and I said at first that I was excited to be in the lineup. But, after meeting with my team, we saw that it wouldn’t be a good idea, especially because Dana White wanted me to travel to the U.S. immediately to have my training camp there. Many of the members of my corner don’t have visas right now. Then, I said, ‘If you want me to fight, pay me as a champion. Pay me like you pay Anderson Silva.'”
Machida explained that he simply wanted to be properly compensated for taking a tough fight on short notice for which he would be unable to adequately prepare.
“A man approaches you wanting to buy your house, but you don’t want to sell it,” said Machida. “So then, you ask for a higher price. You want it? Then pay what I’m asking. I can’t put my career at risk with a bad showing. I think I’d have more to lose than to win in that fight. I have a name in the company. I don’t fight without being prepared, even when I lose. I can’t step in and take the chance of having a bad fight. Today, you have to be extremely prepared.”
At the end of the day, “The Dragon” hopes that his relationship with the UFC won’t become terribly strained because of his negotiating stance; after all, he has to look out for himself and his career before all else.
“If I’m requested [to fight] in a different way from now on, OK,” said Machida. “It’s not like I can’t train in Belem, but ‘pack your stuff and go to the U.S.,’ that takes money and time. It’s a professional relationship. Everything is business and people need to split things. I hope the UFC won’t harm me. It’s gotta be 100-percent with me and them. I want to respect the promotion, my fans and myself. That was my main cause for turning down that fight.”