The Boss giveth, and the Boss taketh away when you don’t succumb to his oppressive will. During an interview with Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight on FUEL, White said Machida – who earned a title shot by knocking out Ryan Bader last month – will not be getting that coveted shot after all:
“You know that when I make a fight, I don’t say a word till both bout agreements are signed and the deal is done. I did exactly what it is that I never do, because we were in this position. That big media call was the next day. I wanted to have some answers. So I went out there, and Machida was in the friggin jungle somewhere. Ed [Soares] told me, ‘He’s in the jungle. I can’t get a hold of him.’ I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘I think he’s gonna take the fight. I don’t see why he wouldn’t.’ So I went with it, and it didn’t work out. This is a guy who had been terrorizing me for a title shot, and he said four weeks wasn’t enough. I said okay and moved on. Lyoto has been crying for a title shot for a long time, and you know how this stuff goes. When you turn down the opportunity to fight, things start going in another path, in another direction. It happened to Rashad Evans. Rashad Evans was out of a fight for a year and a half. We’ll see what happens. He’s not next in line. He’ll fight another fight.”
This is a clear-cut message from Dana White to every man on the UFC roster: When I need you to step up to the plate, you do it, and the heavens will shower you with riches and ho’s. Do it not, and you will experience a wrath more unpleasant than sharing a cell with the Tossed Salad Guy.
It’s hard to fault Machida here. On the one hand, Jones is not a guy you want to face on short notice, and seeing as Lyoto already had his ass handed to him by the champion, double down on that for him. On the other hand, he screwed himself out of a title shot, and at 34 years old, going to the back of the line kind of sucks, especially since Machida has dropped three of his last five and that title shot was granted solely on the fact that Jones had already beaten everyone else. With Vitor Belfort set to face the champion, Dan Henderson still out there, Alexander Gustaffson set to face a battle-worn Shogun, and now Chael Sonnen making his play at 205, it could be a while before Lyoto gets back into the mix.
White’s message is deliberate, visible, and unforgiving; and like it or not, all fighters need to see it.