Heads were left spinning last night when it was revealed Vitor Belfort would be facing Jon Jones on September 22 rather than Lyoto Machida who was originally linked to a bout with the UFC light heavyweight champ. While the news indicated Machida turned the fight down rather than some sort of miscommunication from UFC brass, no reason was attached to the dynamic Brazilian’s decision.
Machida’s management produced a press release today explaining the situation, stating “The Dragon” opted out of the match-up in order to put together a training camp he was comfortable with.
“I want to serve the UFC and recapture the belt. I always respect my opponent. For those reasons, I must prepare myself in the manner I believe in,” explained Machida in a prepared statement.
“Lyoto is eager to get back to training, and have another shot at the light heavyweight belt. However, with the proposed fight being only four weeks away, Lyoto manifests that the deadline is unfeasible in order to have a training camp that is complete and worthy of his work ethic. Lyoto believes that the bout could take place at UFC 153, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro on October 13, allowing him six weeks to prepare,” added Machida’s representatives.
No reaction has surfaced from the UFC regarding Machida’s move, though clearly the company was not interested in waiting on him given Belfort’s booking.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC