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Old 08-26-2012, 10:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones And The Politics of Turning Down Fights

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Aug 26, 2012 - Three weeks ago, Lyoto Machida was granted a title shot by Dana White, largely because, as White told it, he just wanted it more than anybody else. According to the UFC president, Machida and his camp had "terrorized" him for a rematch with Jon Jones while Mauricio "Shogun" Rua seemed unconcerned by the No. 1 contender designation that was up for grabs at the recent UFC on FOX 4 event.

On Thursday, with the prospect of facing Jones in four weeks looming, Machida backed away slowly from his demand and gave way to Vitor Belfort.

The funny thing is, no one seems to care.

One day after Jones became MMA's public enemy No. 1 for turning down a fight, Machida's decision was received with a collective shrug.

Is that fair?

To be sure, the two were in very different situations. Jones was basically entrusted with propping up a pay-per-view event as its bankable headliner, and was reportedly told by the UFC brass that if he didn't accept a fight with Chael Sonnen, UFC 151 would be canceled, costing the company a huge financial loss. He still chose not to fight. That's his right. And it's the public's right to disagree with his decision, which they have overwhelmingly elected to do.

Machida was simply asked to step into a fight four weeks from now, which is not a long time to prepare, but longer than many short-notice replacements get. His acceptance or refusal was not going to make or break an event, as UFC 152 had already been set with a headliner, and was only being improved upon. He said no. And the public doesn't care. His decision was met with a collective yawn.

It could be a function of the fact that they never really felt he deserved a title rematch to begin with, after only a single win between his first crack at Jones and now. Or it could be something else entirely. Either way, it doesn't quite make sense that while Jones has become the sport's new villain, Machida walks away unscathed.

Remember, this is the second time Machida has turned down a high-profile short-notice fight. Just one year ago, Machida made a stand that could have cost the UFC an event cancellation. With an injury to Phil Davis necessitating a late replacement for UFC 133, the UFC turned to Machida to step in and face Rashad Evans. Machida asked for a massive pay bump in the incident that launched the infamous "Anderson Silva-money" catch phrase. Instead, it was Tito Ortiz who stepped into the void.

This time, Machida turned down a fight that we know he wanted. The reason for his decision was simply time. In a statement his camp released to the media, he said he would have preferred six weeks to train. But most people don't care about his reasoning, the same way they don't care about Jones' reasoning. Reaction, after all, never waits for an explanation. It's all based on gut feeling. And for Machida, there's been no backlash. None. While Jones was bombarded with so many negative tweets that others with the same name were casualties of the crossfire, a search of social media related to Machida shows little venom. This despite the fact that he faced Jones less than a year ago, and so is intimately familiar with his style.

I'm not suggesting that Machida is deserving of any rage. Like Jones, he has the right to captain his own ship as he sees fit. But there is a certain hypocrisy to the disparate reactions.

The interesting part of this is that Jones has no history of turning down fights. In fact, just the opposite, he has until now fought whenever asked. He made his UFC debut on 12 days' notice. He fought tough veteran Stephan Bonnar in his second UFC fight, with less than one year of professional experience. He fought Rua on short notice for the world title. He also stepped up for the UFC in a big way last year, agreeing to fight in the UFC 140 main event when the promotion had few other options. In that way, Jones has been up until this week, a model employee.

All of that goodwill has apparently been smashed to bits. Turning down Sonnen seems to be considered a cardinal sin in the eyes of many. It doesn't matter that there's no real case for Sonnen as a title contender. It doesn't matter that Jones had said he had no interest in the bout even before it was offered to him.

For Machida, it's the opposite. For him, it doesn't matter that he had publicly said he wanted to face Jones, and then changed his mind.

When you strip away the extraneous details, they are simply two fighters who decided a short-notice bout wasn't to their liking. For that, one of them is now MMA's bad guy while the other faces no repercussions.

In retrospect, Jones didn't have a decision to make; he was facing an ultimatum. He said no to a fight he never wanted. Machida said no to a fight he was begging for. The politics of MMA suggest it's never OK to turn down a fight, yet the public reaction to Jones and Machida show that's not really true. It's only OK to turn down a fight when no one cares about it.
http://www.mmafighting.com/2012/8/26...ng-down-fights

WOW there sure are a lot of interesting words being written about this.

From all of the reading I've done, I have compiled, categorized, and cross referenced a list of legitimate reasons a professional fighter would turn down a fight:

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Old 08-26-2012, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Point taken, Machida sucks as much as Jones now, almost.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The difference is that JBJ already had a full camp. It would be stupid for Machida to accept his last chance at the title without training when he is already guaranteed the fight. If JBJ loses he would get a rematch right away. I wouldn't say the last occasion was the same as Jones either. In both cases he wasn't scheduled in the first place anyway.

I kind of feel bad for JBJ....he clearly wants to be liked and he is getting terrible advice from his camp. Is there no other alternative that could of helped JBJ avoid this PR disaster? This is all about people telling him he has to maintain this perfect record (DQ aside) so he can keep getting the big payday. For his sake I hope he doesn't go on a losing streak at any point because if that happens these people he is trusting to make his decisions will move on to the next big thing just like they did with Evans.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Was this written by Jon Jones PR?
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i really give Machida more credit because he just came off of a fight. might as well blame every fighter for not fighting 6 times a year.

I don't blame Jones as much as most people, but it is fun seeing him get the same hate that Silva gets for his manager turning down imaginary fights.

full disclosure: huge machida fan, and i usually cheer against jones and i hate his brand.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:08 PM   #7 (permalink)

 
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I only hold Machida in a slightly higher light because there isn't anybody else depending on him for a paycheck the way the undercard fighters were counting on Jones to carry the card. That said his turning down the fight when he was asked to step up is far from admirable.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Different scenario with Machida.

Machida feels entitled to a full training camp because he earned a title shot. The repercussions of losing also played a big role in his decision not to take the fight on short notice. If he loses one more time to Jones he wont be getting a title shot for a long time.

Title shot entitlement + last title shot he'll get for a long time = reasonable not to take fight on short notice with champion
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #9 (permalink)

 
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Different scenario with Machida.

Machida feels entitled to a full training camp because he earned a title shot. The repercussions of losing also played a big role in his decision not to take the fight on short notice. If he loses one more time to Jones he wont be getting a title shot for a long time.

Title shot entitlement + last title shot he'll get for a long time = reasonable not to take fight on short notice with champion
Machida did not earn a title shot. The UFC needed a way to make the last UFC on Fox card relevant so they promised him on but those same promises have been broken more times than I can count so his "earned title shot" is not worth jack ****. Machida may never get another chance to fight for the title and that is not outside the realm of possibility.
Jones is fighting Vitor, he could easily be booked against Hendo with a win and you know after Chael run through Forrest and runs his mouth he will jump to the front of the line. So we could easily be in mid 2013 by then and guys like Gusto and Glover are on the rise. Machida could easily be forced to fight and lose before he ever gets near another title shot. Especially when you consider that he was already not the UFC's favorite guy after the whole "Anderson Silva Money" thing and you have the fact that the champ already beat him and nobody is lining up to see or buy the rematch. Its easy to imagine a scenario where Machida just threw away his last chance at regaining the LHW title.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Machida turned down (and rightfully so) a fight at UFC 152 and not 151, there was nothing he could do to save that card.
The reporter is just being a dick and he probably knows it.

Haters gonna hate...
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