A couple of days back our own Michael Rome wrote a post crediting Dana White for sticking with Lyoto Machida even when the haters far outnumbered the fans.
Ivan Trembow makes the counter case, pointing out that a lot of lucky breaks had to come Lyoto's way for Dana to give him the title shot at UFC 98:
Earlier this year, with a UFC record of 6-0 and an MMA record of 14-0, Machida was still passed over for a title shot in favor of Quinton Jackson (even with Jackson’s legal issues), who had won an incredible two fights in a row.
Even when Jackson’s injuries made it clear that he couldn’t fight on the May 23rd card, Machida still wasn’t going to get the next title shot.
It was only because both Jackson and Frank Mir were injured (thus preventing the UFC from delaying Evans’ first title defense until July) that Machida got a title shot before Jackson.
Even then, published reports at the time said that it still would not have happened if Zuffa had been able to convince Georges St. Pierre to move up his title defense against Thiago Alves to May 23.
The only reason they finally gave Machida the title shot when they did, rather than having him fight yet again before getting a title shot and likely against another tough opponent like Thiago Silva, was because all three of these things happened:
1. Quinton Jackson was hurt and couldn't fight on May 23
2. Frank Mir was hurt and couldn't fight on May 23
3. GSP was not willing to move his fight up to May 23
If any two of those things had happened, we’d be looking forward to Evans vs. Jackson in July, and Machida would have yet another tough fight before getting a title shot.
It’s only because all three of those things happened that Evans vs. Machida happened on May 23.
Still, everything fell into place, probably because Dana and the gang saw the Machida win coming a mile away. For his part, Machida came in and took Rashad Evans out in aggressive fashion. What was looking like it might be a second debacle in as many events turned into an impressive win for the Karate master. And now the UFC is being hailed for ‘pushing’ a fighter they originally had no intentions of giving a title shot to any time soon. Funny how life works out, isn’t it?
Now does anyone want to wonder how bad things have to get before Yushin Okami gets his shot? It’s too bad for him swine flu didn’t turn into the mega-pandemic it was hyped for … that might have done it.
Photo by Arnold Lim, MMA Ring Report