Lyoto Machida (left) wanted to be compensated like teammate Anderson Silva. | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
Lyoto Machida considered taking a short-notice fight, but he wasn’t going to do it for cheap.
Speaking exclusively to Sherdog.com on Thursday, Machida confirmed UFC President Dana White’s claim that Machida wanted “Anderson Silva money” to rematch Rashad Evans at UFC 133.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion revealed that while he wanted to accept the Aug. 6 fight at first, he later thought better of entering the matchup on only three weeks’ notice.
“I wanted a guarantee to fight [Evans at UFC 133],” said Machida. “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, who is recovering from a minor elbow injury suffered in training, instead traveled to the beaches of upstate Para for a family vacation. The 33-year-old asserted that he risked endangering his career by entering ill-prepared against Evans, whom Machida knocked out in May 2009.
“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.”
Machida added that he believed Evans’ original opponent, unbeaten prospect Phil Davis, was nearly cleared to compete after suffering a knee injury.
“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.”
During a Thursday media conference call, White expressed his shock at Machida’s salary request, stating that the ex-champ had already agreed to fight before demanding more money. However, the UFC head claimed the situation will not harm future negotiations between the parties, something which Machida hopes to be true.
“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.”