Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida caught everyone off guard last week by announcing he had signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA.
The move was especially surprising as “The Dragon” never made it known he was fighting the last bout on his UFC contract. That’s because Machida says he prefers things close to his vest instead of publishing everything. Furthermore, the Brazilian was riding a two fight win streak inside the Octagon over the likes of Eryk Anders and Vitor Belfort, which made his move even more of a head-scratcher.
In another interesting twist to the story, Machida recently revealed on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show UFC actually matched Bellator’s offer, but he elected to sign with the Viacom-owned promotion because he had already given Scott Coker and Co. his word.
“I went to Bellator and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Everything was okay, UFC did match everything but I was keeping my word to Scott Coker an Mike Kogan. I am a man of my word. So when UFC did match everything, I couldn’t come back again. Scott Coker asked me how much I would like to receive for fight. So he said, ‘Lyoto, if I give that to you, will you jump aboard to Bellator?’ And I said yes. When I come back to UFC and tell everything that happened, UFC match everything, but you know I had gave my word to Scott Coker and Bellator and that is one of my principles so I can not go back on my word. So if i say something I have to do what I said.”
Furthermore, Machida — who says is thankful to UFC for everything the promotion did for his career — says prior to facing Belfort at UFC 224, he wasn’t offered a contract extension to continue his career inside the Octagon. In the end, it all worked out for “The Dragon” as he scored a first round knockout over “The Phenom,” which only help his stock rise.
As for his Bellator future, Lyoto confirmed he signed on for six fights, though his official debut for the promotion has yet to be finalized. Care to offer up some potential ideas as to who he should face first?