Recently news broke that Chris Weidman had been forced out of his UFC 184 main-event title defense against Vitor Belfort.
UFC President Dana White recounted the story, explaining that Belfort and his wife began calling the UFC President asking for an interim title fight. White called Lyoto Machida, who is fresh off a TKO win over CB Dollaway, and Machida accepted the bout, however Belfort declined to take a fight against Machida.
This led to UFC officials promoting Rousey vs. Zingano, which was originally the co-main event, to the main event.
Now, Lyoto Machida’s manager, Ed Soares, is opening up about what went down when Lyoto was offered the bout.
He spoke to MMAFighting:
“That is what happened. Dana called me and asked me if Lyoto would be interested in fighting Vitor Belfort on February 28, and I said I believe so, but let me just check with him really quick. I called Lyoto and before I could even finish the question he basically said yes, send me the bout agreement. So I called Dana back and told him, and he said ‘great, now I got to clear it with Vitor.’ ”
“Then about 15 minutes later, Dana called me, pretty pissed off, saying Vitor didn’t want to fight [Lyoto], and didn’t want to accept the fight. He said that [Vitor] said he didn’t want to fight him because he’d been training for [Weidman], and he wasn’t training for a southpaw, and that he wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for a southpaw.”
“About 20 minutes later I texted Dana and said, ‘tell him that Lyoto will start every round with his left foot forward.’ Dana just [texted back], ‘LOL.’”
“Lyoto wanted that fight. He really wanted the opportunity for him to fight for the interim title and also to be able to face Vitor Belfort. It was everything that Lyoto wanted.”