Dana White: Money Influenced Lyoto Machida’s Decline

Written by Tom Ngo
April 28th, 2011

UFC Light Heavyweight Lyoto Machida

Less than two years ago, Lyoto Machida put Rashad Evans to sleep to capture the UFC light heavyweight crown. He also bumped his record to a perfect 15-0 in the process. After successfully – albeit controversially – defending his title against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in his next outing, Machida quickly found himself on the wrong end of a two-fight streak.

As “The Dragon” enters Saturday’s pivotal UFC 129 scrap against soon-to-be-retired Randy Couture, fans remain baffled as to why “The Machida Era” ended before it ever began. While appearing as a guest on Wednesday’s edition of Jim Rome is Burning, UFC president Dana White dropped his two cents on the subject.

“This is what I think happened; A guy goes through his entire career, he’s got this incredible elusive style, nobody can figure him out, he’s explosive, got knockout power, but then once you start making a lot of money, it starts messing with your head and you start doing things differently,” White told the ESPN host.

“I think if Machida comes out like the old Machida, I think he can beat anybody in the world.”

Machida lost his belt to Shogun in their immediate rematch at UFC 113, and then followed it up this past November with a controversial split decision defeat to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

The bright side for the Brazilian is that White appears to have softened on the “must-win” stance he issued several months back. Understanding it’s his job as a promoter to say just about anything to generate pay-per-view buzz, he couldn’t stop boasting about Machida’s skills during yesterday’s pre-fight press conference.

The former 205-pound champions meet this Saturday inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.

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