Lyoto Machida didn’t want to disappoint the UFC.
The former light heavyweight champion has agreed to a middleweight bout against Mark Munoz, his training partner and friend, at UFC Fight Night 30.
Munoz, who was originally slated to face Michael Bisping, was left without an opponent when an injury forced Bisping to pull out of the bout. Seeing as the loss of Bisping left a gaping hole in the main event, the UFC called for Machida to forgo his upcoming bout with Tim Kennedy and fight Munoz instead.
Machida accepted the fight after much consideration. During an interview with MMAFighting.com, he claimed his decision was based on furthering his position in the middleweight division and not upsetting the UFC:
I thought for a while about it (when UFC offered the change), but I didn’t want to disappoint and frustrate the UFC. The date wasn’t that bad. I was already training hard for my fight, so I decided to take it. They were both main events, but this is a better one because Mark Munoz is better ranked and it’s not a (Fight for the Troops) card.
In speaking with Bleacher Report’s Duane Finley, Mark Munoz admitted that he was surprised when Machida’s name came up as an opponent. The two were planning to train with one another for their upcoming fights, but Bisping’s injury threw a major monkey wrench in the UFC’s plans.
"It is kind of a crazy turn. I didn't even know [Michael] Bisping was hurt, and then all of a sudden, I'm fighting Lyoto Machida in three weeks," Munoz told Bleacher Report. "I'm down to fight anyone at any time, but I have to admit, the whole thing kind of surprised me because it all came in at the same time and was very last minute. But that is the nature of this game, and you have to be ready for anything."
The notion of friends fighting has been a hot topic over the years in MMA.
It’s ludicrous to make a comparison between MMA and other sports in regards to the business-like nature of competition. Quite frankly, it’s asking a lot to try to convince someone to punch and elbow another human being whom they care deeply about.
While there is some relationship with Munoz, Machida’s bond with "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" isn’t nearly as strong as with Anderson Silva. The two MMA icons have vowed never to fight one another. During a Q&A Session with fans, via MMAFighting.com, Silva had even gone as far as threatening to retire from the sport if pressured into fighting Machida.
UFC president Dana White has grown increasingly agitated over fighters refusing to fight one another.
If anything, Machida’s decision to throw him a bone and take the fight with Munoz should call off the dogs at least for a little while.