As reported from the side of the promotion, Lyoto Machida has turned down a fight with Rashad Evans, after first agreeing, then demanding Anderson Silva type money. To which Dana White supposedly said, 'Have a nice day!'
On the surface, the same thing that goes on every day in other sporting organizations. A player, or in this case fighter, makes a contractual demand for what he thinks he is worth, and management either agrees, disagrees or more often, compromises.
The glaring difference between Lyoto Machida vs a player in the NBA, is that in the NBA, competition exists lustfully. If the LA Clippers do not think Blake Griffin is worth $10 million per season, 26 other teams might roll the dice. In MMA, it is usually the UFC way or have a nice day. And if you really piss off Dana White, it might be have a nice career.
That's why Machida's refusal and demand ought to be watched carefully. Deliberately or inadvertently, Machida has managed to expose a small chink in the formidable armor of the UFC: despite the brilliance of Joe Silva, despite the forcefulness of Dana White, despite even the behind the scenes diplomacy of the Fertittas, everything begins and ends with the fighters.
And once every blue moon, the organization is more desperate for fighters than the fighters are desperate for the UFC. This greatly stirs the ire of Dana White, who seems to view any financial demand by a fighter as a personal insult. Few things appear to annoy the UFC President more than a fighter who is not satisfied with his pay.
I suspect the reason Dana White is really ticked at Machida is not because he doesn't think Machida deserves Silva type money, but because if he did give in to Machida, he would then be forced to pay Silva even more as the organization's most dominant champion.
Without vibrant competition in the UFC, a fighters only true leverage outside of quitting, is the refusal. Especially when the request is to take a fight on short notice. With Phil Davis out, Tito saying no, Machida wanting more money, the UFC was dangerously close to looking desperate.
I see nothing wrong with a demand for a better payday due to taking on a dangerous opponent on short notice. Bravo to Lyoto Machida for having the guts to make his demand and risk alienating one of the most powerful men in MMA.
But Machida knows the secret. He is the reason fans come to events. He is the one people go to the bars to see. He is the reason for the show. And if he does not demand what he thinks he is worth, the UFC will for sure not offer it to him.
The flip side to Dana White's dismissal of Machida's demands to 'Have a nice day!' is that essentially Machida did that to him first. Machida basically told him, if you can't pay me Silva type money, then you have a nice day!'
Dana White's worst nightmare: a top level fighter who understands the UFC needs him, more than he needs the UFC. One small step for Lyoto, but potentially, a giant step for fighters everywhere.
Pay me the money!