After reports came out that Lyoto Machida declined to fight Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 133 because he wouldn’t receive “Anderson Silva-type money,” many were quick to lay into the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
Everyone from the top of the list, starting with UFC President Dana White, were upset and made it known that they were disappointed in Machida’s decision.
Now, “The Dragon’s” manager, Ed Soares says that money wasn’t the only reason his client declined.
“I think there was a lot more to it than what was explained,” Soares said. “Sometimes things get a little twisted, and there’s reasons behind it, it wasn’t just because of the money. At the end of the day, what people need to understand is there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes.
“For instance, his elbow wasn’t 100-percent. That wasn’t as big of a deal, but two of his cornermen didn’t have visas to get into the country and wouldn’t be in there. He’s taking the fight on less than three weeks notice, his family is totally against him taking the fight, so when you put all of those things onto the scale and weigh it, and let’s just say worst case scenario and he comes in and loses. Whatever place has your record, it’s going to just say a loss. There isn’t an asterisk next to it saying, ‘Loss, but didn’t have two of his three cornermen, took the fight on three weeks notice.’ It just says loss.”
Machida, 33 years old, began his MMA career with 16 consecutive victories, including a second round knockout over Evans for the UFC title. He defended the belt, earning a controversial decision against “Shogun” Rua, but was knocked out in the rematch with Rua.
Another loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson put plenty of pressure on Machida (17-2) when he met Randy Couture in the cage earlier this year. Machida delivered, sending “The Natural” into retirement with a jumping front kick in the opening round.
“For someone like Lyoto in this business, a loss can change a lot in a person’s career. What’s misinterpreted was that if he was to do that he wanted to make it worth his while,” Soares said. “Maybe the things that were said, they got a little bit misconstrued, it was misunderstood but Lyoto’s the same guy he’s always been, his heart of a fighter wanted to take the fight, but it just didn’t make sense for him to do it.
“What’s next for Lyoto is whatever the UFC wants. We never pick our opponents, whoever they think is ready.”
Rumors of a possible Machida-Phil Davis match have been tossed around, as Davis was set to fight Evans at UFC 133 before pulling out with an injury. Plans for that fight this year though, may have been scrapped when Davis revealed in an interview this week that he probably wouldn’t be ready to compete again this year.
Other options include the winner of Saturday’s fight between Rua and Forrest Griffin at UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami.
“I believe Lyoto’s one or two fights away from fighting for a title,” Soares said.