UFC 94 was the event that seemingly had broken Machida through the "boring" label in the eyes of many of the haters. Now we're two days removed from the event and no one cares about "The Dragon." As Yves Levine pushed Machida off the stiffened Thiago Silva I smiled, ready to teach the newly converted the secret handshake and welcome them into the Star Chamber that is the Lyoto Machida Fan Club.
The story I was getting ready to write early Sunday morning was the one that most interested me coming out of the event: the myth of Machida's inability to connect with the mainstream audience.
Machida received a nice reaction at the weigh-ins, certainly not the kind of reaction one would expect after reading the message board talk of mainstream hatred leading up to the fight. Then Machida received a warm reception at the fight, and Silva was lightly booed as he was introduced. Finally Lyoto fought the perfect fight, turning Thiago's aggression against him, working from the outside with strikes and if distance was closed he threw a few strikes and used a trip takedown to further dictate the pacing and location of the fight. As the crowd erupted at the devastating knockout I was confident that Machida had just become a star.
But now I have spent 48 hours plowing through news about Vaseline, witch doctors, and greasy Canadians. It's obviously a major story, but by focusing so much on this one aspect of the card we are cheating Machida (and Jon Jones) out of the attention they deserve after their performances. So here's to a push for a little love for the guys who did their jobs impressively and without controversy.