“I wanted a guarantee to fight [Evans at UFC 133]. 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.’… A man approaches you wanting to buy your house, but you don’t want to sell it. 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… Joinha called me, saying they’ve offered me the fight, and then called back later saying it wouldn’t be necessary anymore because Phil Davis got cleared to fight. Then, I traveled to the beach with my family and the negotiations reopened… If I’m requested [to fight] in a different way from now on, OK. 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.”
— Lyoto Machida explaining to Sherdog why he wanted “Anderson Silva money” and why he turned down the fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 133
It’s difficult to tell exactly how it all went down between Dana White and Lyoto Machida’s camp from their stories, but listening to Machida, it definitely sounds like there was more to it than Dana’s claim that he accepted the fight only to renege on it shortly thereafter in an attempt to get more money. Machida shouldn’t have initially agreed without thinking it through it first, but his reasoning is understandable.
As for Phil Davis, it turns out he still badly wanted the fight despite the knee injury, but Dana White pulled him off because it was just too risky.
“Let me tell you this: Phil Davis 100 percent still wanted this fight. And I’m like, there’s no way, kid. What if he starts full training again and fully blows it out and gets hurt? Now, he’s going to be out for God knows how long, and we just lost the main event a week before the fight.”
On another side note, Dana White clarified that Rashad Evans will still get his title shot if he beats Tito Ortiz. If Tito wins, he will be considered a top three contender in the light heavyweight division, so he would probably need at least one more win to get a title shot.
Image via CombatLifestyle.com