By now, everyone and their mom knows that Tito Ortiz will be stepping in with three weeks notice to take on Rashad Evans to headline UFC 133 on August 6. Ortiz makes the third opponent Evans has been scheduled to take on after both reigning lightweight champion Jon Jones, and hot prospect Phil Davis were both forced to withdraw due to injury.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, Dana White shed some more light on the topic:
“Machida accepted the fight [at UFC 133],” White told MMAJunkie Wednesday evening. “We knew for a couple days this was going down, and Machida accepted the fight. Then when we called back and said, ‘OK, we’re going to make this fight,’ Machida’s people came back and said, ‘We’ll tell you what. You pay us what you pay Anderson Silva, and we’ll take the fight.’ This was after they had already agreed to take the fight.
“I said, ‘Are you [expletive] kidding me? I’ll tell you what. You tell Machida he achieves what [expletive] Anderson Silva has achieved, then maybe he’ll make Anderson Silva money. Have a nice day.’”
Ouch. That is not exactly the way to get in your boss' good graces.
Now the only thing that is a little off about his demands is that both Machida and Silva made the same disclosed show money for their respective bouts at UFC 129 and 126. In fact, Machida actually made more ($329,000, $200K to show plus $129K for Knockout of the Night) for his knockout victory over Randy Couture than Silva did ($275,000, $200K to show, $75K for Knockout of the Night) for his knockout victory over Vitor Belfort.
So one would have to assume that Machida knows that Silva is making much, much more per fight than what is disclosed to the athletic commissions. As far as how much he earns is pure speculation, but supposedly it is enough for Machida to make the demands he did.
We all know that Dana White does not take kindly to fighters who make demands, much less agree to a bout and then say "nope, not going to do it unless you pay me more than my contracted rate." He tends to favor fighters who will step up, regardless of the situation, and fight whoever, whenever.
Rick Story is a perfect example. When Nate Marquardt was not medically cleared for their fight, he took on Charlie Brenneman on around one day notice. Although he lost, White stated during the post-fight press conference something to the effect that Story's stock in the division would not slip all that much given the circumstances of the fight. After hearing White say that, don't be surprised if Story's next fight is against a top-caliber welterweight.
Now Machida, on the other hand, is more than likely stuck between a rock and a hard place. Currently, all the top fighters in the division are locked in to fights, so there are no legitimate opponents for him in the foreseeable future. And even if a spot were to open up, does anyone believe that Machida would be asked to step in and fill the spot?
Trying to play hardball with the most powerful man in the world of mixed martial arts is not a good idea. In fact, it is a pretty stupid idea. Dana White can make you, and he can crush you. After how everything has gone down the past few days, do not be surprised if White chooses to do the ladder to Machida.
With as stacked as the light heavyweight division is, White and Joe Silva will have no problems creating big fights that do not include Lyoto Machida, Given the promotion's track record, Machida is going to have to pull off a string of highly impressive victories, or kiss some major butt, to get back in to the title picture.
Have you ever heard the phrase "don't bite the hand that feeds you?" Apparently, Lyoto Machida and Ed Soares have not.