Chael Sonnen: I'm not giving Lyoto Machida a title shot
By Tim Burke on Feb 25, 1:02p 47
Chael Sonnen believes that Lyoto Machida "can't draw flies" or sell out arenas, and says that he won't give The Dragon a title shot if he beats Jon Jones.
Chael Sonnen is up to his old tricks again. The outspoken UFC fighter has settled into his job as an analyst on Fuel TV quite nicely and generally does his best to hype fighters instead of hyping himself. But in the wake of UFC 157, Sonnen ratcheted up the hyperbole a bit in regards to someone he's been asking to fight for a while - Lyoto Machida. Machida barely beat Sonnen's friend Dan Henderson in the co-main event, and Chael was none too complimentary about Machida's drawing power:
"Does Lyoto Machida deserve another title shot? Absolutely. Is he a great fighter? Absolutely. I'm in on the business. I'm in on the pay per view. So is Jon Jones, but neither of us want to fight him because he can't draw flies. That's the bottom line. He got booed tonight, he got booed in his last fight. I can't sell out an arena with you. I can't sell PPV's with you. I'm not giving him the shot. Alexander Gustafsson, Gegard Mousasi, step up and I'll take the winner."
There is some truth to this. Jones has previously said the similar things about Machida as well. But "can't draw flies" and "can't sell out arenas" is a little much. It's not like Jones drew a lot more PPV buys against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua or Vitor Belfort (in fact, the fight with Belfort drew less buys). And if Sonnen did somehow take the title away from Jones, he's already done a good job of hyping a potential fight with Machida so it would probably sell too. Unlike Jones, he's never fought him before so it's fresh at least.
Perhaps the most interesting point he made is the confirmation that he gets PPV points. It's pretty obvious that he deserves them, but how many guys that have never held a belt have them in the UFC?