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Lyoto Machida Will Likely Not Return Until 2012, Doesn't Know If He Is Being Punished

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida hasn't competed since UFC 129 when he knocked out Randy Couture in spectacular fashion, and people have been wondering when he's going to fight next. He was asked to step in at UFC 133 and replace an injured Phil Davis to face Rashad Evans, but his monetary demands weren't to Dana White's liking (he wanted "Anderson Silva money") so the bout went to Tito Ortiz instead. Machida was asked a couple of weeks ago whether he felt he was being punished for his demands (translated by Tom Mendes):

"It’s hard to say that it exists (a punishment by the UFC). Maybe so, maybe not, perhaps they’re keeping me on the sidelines, but I don’t believe that. I met with Lorenzo Fertitta in Rio and he talked to me, he said what happened was in the past, for me not to worry. But I find myself in a difficult situation, a complicated one, I don’t know if he said that but would act in a different way, or if they’re waiting to make a fight. I am waiting, I want to concentrate in my work and accomplish it with proper time."

Machida recently added to the mystery with a tweet (again translated by Tom):

"Hey guys, I think the Octagon only next year"

So it definitely looks like Machida will sit out until 2012. This leaves UFC 140 with very few options when it comes to booking a legitimate main event, and means that Machida will be out for at least eight months for no real reason. As a top contender to the light heavyweight title, this has to be viewed as a bit of a setback.

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