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Chael Sonnen doesn’t want to fight Lyoto Machida based on boring style

Lyoto Machida v Dan Henderson - UFC 157UFC light heavyweight Lyoto Machida did what Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko could not in recent attempts by beating Dan Henderson last night at UFC 157. Of course, he barely scraped by and did so by playing it safe throughout the bulk of the bout, picking his strikes and then backing away. Though Machida’s victory came in a fair fashion, it drew a lot of criticism from fans expecting to see an entertaining effort and certainly hurt his hold on his status as the division’s top contender.

If Machida does indeed get a shot at the strap, as he’s been promised, he’ll face one of two men – champion Jon Jones or UFC 159 challenger Chael Sonnen. Jones has spoken out against Machida as an opponent before based on the Brazilian’s occasionally boring approach to action and now Sonnen is doing the same, ranting about the matter on Fuel TV’s post-event coverage of Saturday night’s show.

“I’m in on the business. I’m in on the pay-per-view business, and so is Jon Jones. Neither of us want to fight Machida because he can’t draw flies and that’s the bottom line,” said Sonnen, directing the rest of his response towards the former title-holder. “You got booed (at UFC 157). You got booed in your last fight. I can’t sell out an arena with you. I can’t sell pay-per-views with you. I’m not giving you the shot.”

Jones’ most recent comments on Machida came to ESPN last year before a proposed pairing, telling the outlet, “He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year. No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don’t want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is a high risk low reward. He’s a tough fighter, but no one wants to buy that fight.”

Style aside, Machida’s success is hard to argue against. He holds an overall record of 19-3 with wins over Ryan Bader, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Rashad Evans.


  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Have to agree. Who really wants to see Lyoto try to avoid contact while throwing 2 punches per minute?
    His style is not fan friendly even if it is effective to garner boring UD wins.

    When his opponents go out of the way to chase him down and engage he loses more than he wins. Trying to play his game causes boring fights.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    He got booed KOing Bader? Strange I would of remembered that..then again I’m biased, Machida is my favorite fighter. However, Chael’s feelings are pointless, Machida just beat the #1 contender, if the UFC wants to salvage any legitimacy with their rankings, they have to honor that if you beat #1 contender, you are now the #1 contender and therefore fight for the title next. And as I said in the Aldo article, it’s not up to the champ to choose who they fight.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    if fans were expecting anything other than what they got i guess they dont watch too many Machida/Hendo fights. Dancing vs Plodding, thats what was expected and thats what we got.
    utmost respect for both those guys and Hendo is one of my all time hero’s from any sport, but that was a god awful match up that was only gonna end one way.

    I dont buy Machida being the no 1 contender either. Henderson was no 1 well over a year ago, and Machida barely scraped by him. Bader isnt even top 10. That doesnt make a no 1 contender for me.
    Winner of Gus vs Moussassi should fight him, then we’d have a decent number one.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    More of Chael just liking to hear himself talk. Once he loses to Jones he’ll be on a 2-fight losing streak (that could easily be 3 going back to the Bisping fight). And so as an unranked LHW on a losing streak, no one will be asking for a Chael-Machida fight. So I guess Chael can rest easy there.

    As for the fight this past weekend, as hindsight mentioned it played out pretty much as expected. I figured it would be a fight that could use 5 rounds, but unfortunately the women’s fight (which no one would have predicted would need 5 rounds) got the main card billing instead. Gotta milk Ronda and make that money. As a tradeoff, the #1 contender fight in the LHW division was cut short and the majority of fans came away disappointed with the outcome. There’s no guarantee the championship rounds would have done much to change the course of the fight, but I would have liked to see it play out.

    I won’t be surprised at all if Dana goes back on his word (again) and gives the next title shot to the Gustafsson-Mousasi winner. I think the UFC will wait it out before making any official announcements, to see how that fight goes. Dana might even tease the possibility of the winner getting the next shot, to help hype the fight. As Fitch recently pointed out, these days the UFC just waits to see how things are shaping up and whichever option is going to make the most money, that’s gonna be the play. Lyoto is currently the leader in the clubhouse for the next shot at Jones, but an impressive/exciting victory from Alex or Gegard could vault them to the top.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    if ever a fight was screaming for 5 rounds it was Hendo vs Machida.
    All number one contender fights should be 5 rounds.
    its even getting to the stage where any fight involving title implications with top 5 fighters need to be 5 rounds

  • hindsightufuk says:

    and these fucking comments are taking an age to load again (when they do work)

  • AlphaOmega says:

    The only time I’m having trouble with comments hindsight seems to be during/after an event when it seems there’s a high volume of people. Maybe it’s your computer/connection this time?

  • hindsightufuk says:

    usually my work computer works fine but its taking ages to load these comments today

  • MCM says:

    Fully agree with Hindsight in that Machida is in no way the #1 contender. Now that Hendo is technically out, Gustafsson is the only guy in the division with any claim to the title. At this point, even Lil Nog is closer than Machida. (That’s not a bad fight rankings wise if they’d ever do it.) I used to be a big fan of Machida (back when everyone hated him) but ever since he got KO’d by Shogun, he’s seems more “evasive” and less “tactical”, if that makes any sense. Like Rashad, he’s gotten gun shy.

    As for Chael, he’s saying Machida doesn’t get to fight him cause he’s saying he’s gonna beat Jones. If he loses to Jones, he won’t have to worry about Machida.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    FWIW, prior to the Hendo fight Lyoto’s previous 3 fights hadn’t gone to the judges’ scorecards. And if this past weekend’s fight had been a 5-round affair, as it should have been, maybe it wouldn’t have reached the judges either. Yes he uses a very methodical approach, often reluctant to engage while he picks his spots, but it’s not like he’s Fitch or Guida out there. It’s been over 5 years since Machida had consecutive fights go to the judges.

    Back to Chael, I get that he’s implying he’ll be holding the belt when he’s brushing away Lyoto… but in reality, Chael is soon to be on a losing streak (and still without a UFC LHW victory in his career), while Lyoto remains a legitimate top contender in the division. Anyway, not a big deal, but just more of Chael’s yammering where the words will ultimately ring hollow.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    So MCM you think it shouldn’t be that if you beat the #1 contender you are then the #1 contender? Because if not that screws the rankings up even more

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Ignoring who was fighting, that’s how it should work. Machida was ranked #2 by UFC’s rankings, Hendo was #1…#2 beats #1 #2 then becomes #1 right?

  • MCM says:

    No, I don’t think that should be how it works. I didn’t have Machida as #2 based on the fact that, until Saturday night, he hadn’t beaten a real top 10er since losing the belt. He’s clearly top 10 and arguably top 5 but not #2. Hendo reached his #1 contender spot by being on a 4 fight win streak over good competition (albeit only one top 10er in his weight class) and frankly because there was no one else. Machida is only on a 2 fight win streak and just lost to the current champ. I think you have to take in several factors when determining top rankings and single wins are only a portion of it.

    Answer this question….Was an unranked Matt Serra rightly or wrongly ranked as the #1 WW in the world after a single win over GSP?

  • MCM says:

    I get what your saying, and in truth, I don’t consider going the distance to mean a fighter isn’t trying to finish. The Rampage fight is a perfect example. I thought Machida won the fight, but if you look at the first two rounds, he wasn’t engaging Rampage like he did in the third and appeared to be a avoiding confrontation as opposed to being elusive in confrontation. If you can, look at the difference between Lyoto’s fights with Rampage and Tito. Tito may have accused Lyoto or running but it was more baiting and forcing Tito to expose himself first. In the Rampage fight, he actually looks to be running for large parts of it.

    Machida and Rashad are both winners. But every fighter adjusts after their first loss. It just so happened that each of these two had their first losses after long runs on the world stage, so we as fans, get notice their changes and adjustments more.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Let’s take a step back and consider what Chael said. He doesn’t want to fight Machida because Chael (and Jones) get a piece of the ppv’s, and Machida isn’t exciting. I’m sure there are other fighters who get a per centage of the buys as an incentive. But I can remember some of the discussion about fighter compensation and fairness on this site years ago when that didn’t happen, or at least it wasn’t common knowledge. So now UFC gives incentives based upon actual performances–if you have an exciting style, you sell more ppv’s and make more money. And that makes fighters more competitive and the sport more exciting. That’s a good business model, imo.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Regarding the #1 contender debate, it’s a little tricky.

    First of all, it should have been Hendo. Dan should have gotten the next crack at Jones, period. Yeah he got injured, and should have informed the UFC sooner than he did (playing a role in the UFC 151 fiasco), but the UFC didn’t need to go so far as to “punish” Dan and Lyoto while using it as an excuse to slip this TUF ratings grab maneuver by us. That whole thing was and continues to be complete horse crap, with ongoing (negative) implications on the sport.

    I’m sure some people will say, “Well Dan lost to Machida so I guess he wasn’t such a slam dunk #1 contender after all.” But that’s not the way it works. At the top of the divisions, things are generally pretty bunched up where any of the top guys can beat each other. So when a guy earns his title shot, give him his damn shot. It will always be somewhat subjective, but lately the UFC doesn’t even attempt to have any type of consistency or fairness with how it puts together title fights. They dick around with money-grab fights like Jones vs. Chael and GSP vs. Diaz, and in the meantime guys like Hendo and Hendricks get screwed.

    And if Hendricks loses a tough fight with Condit, then what? Who fights GSP next? A rematch with Condit? Do we get to hear Anderson Silva and Dana White talk out of their assholes about a GSP-Silva superfight all over again? These shortsighted sell out maneuvers are already starting to come back to bite the UFC in the ass.

    Back on topic… Lyoto or Gustafsson? If a guy is on his way up the rankings, and beats the #1 contender (particularly in a match labeled as a #1 contender fight by the UFC president) then it’s pretty cut & dried — winner should get the next shot. But the rankings get tricky when we’re talking about a guy who’s already gotten his title shot. Losing to the champ shouldn’t cause a fighter to tumble too far in the rankings, but at the same time he should have to work his way back up, while giving the other contenders their opportunities… keeping the line moving.

    So here’s what I’d propose…

    If Gustafsson wins, he gets the next shot. Lyoto faces Glover Teixeira (after he beats Bader in May) for the #1 contender spot.

    If Mousasis wins, Lyoto gets the next shot. Mousasi faces Glover Teixeira for the #1 contender spot.

  • darth_irritable says:

    It’s moot anyway. Sonnen’s not getting past Jones, so who gives a crap what he thinks?

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I’m all for post-fight bonuses, to motivate & reward guys who deliver in terms of an exciting KO, submission or overall fight. But to use the *excitement* factor or who’s best at being loud & obnoxious to help sell fights as some sort of significant criteria in determining title fights… that’s completely different. That’s where the UFC starts to sacrifice legitimacy for (short-term) revenue.

    And allow me to rant about Chael Sonnen just a bit more, the guy prompting this discussion by calling out Machida for not being an exciting fighter. The only reason Chael is “exciting” is that he latched onto Anderson Silva’s teet and hasn’t shut up since. Chael’s 2nd UFC run started in 2009, and he earned his initial shot at Silva with a submission loss to Maia followed by 3 decision victories where he utilized his grind it out style of wrestling. I was in attendance when he beat Nate, and there was no buzz in the arena for Chael Sonnen in the arena that night. But so began his obsession with Silva and the antics that would follow, and to his credit he backed it up with a very good performance in their first fight (albeit under dubious circumstances)… and the man hasn’t let up with the nasally verbal tirades ever since.

    Chael Sonnen – Mr. Excitement. God bless him.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Teixeira trains at Blackhouse as well as other camps, him and Machida won’t fight. And this is where rankings get confusing, because every person has their own ranking system, most likely biased partly too, but also every media outlet has their own, and now the UFC has their own, so who’s is trust worthy?

  • Angry Mike says:

    Is Sonnen an exciting fighter? Look at his ppv buys. If people think he’s entertaining, his fights will sell. If people get tired of his schtick, his fights won’t sell. The answer is in the numbers. Apparently the answer is yes, at least for now.

  • MCM says:

    Chael didn’t say anything about being an “exciting” fighter. He said Machida doesn’t put butts in seats. And for all the negative things that can be said about Chael, you can’t say he doesn’t put butts in seats. Do I think that quality should have anything to do with getting a title shot? Not really, but I understand it.

    As for Chaels initial run at the UFC title he came into the UFC after beating the #1 or #2 ranked MW on the planet. He started calling out Silva then. Just nobody paid him much attention.

    He then lost to a top 10 fighter that fought for the MW title just two fights later.

    After that, he fought a man that had just cracked the top 10 and after beating him he started calling out Silva again. This time some people started paying attention.

    So he was matched up with a top 3-5 fighter that alot of fans were saying should have been fighting for the title. After beating him, he called out Silva again, now people started to paying real attention.

    He then fought a top 3 fighter who’s only reason for not fighting for the title was that Silva refused to fight him again. After that fight, he went full on on Silva, and rightfully so. He had just gone 4-1 over the best competition the MW division had.

    To cap it off, he goes on to beat the greatest fighter alive for 23 minutes like he stole something only to lose it all at the last second. You can’t script excitement like that.

    Chaels initial run through the MW division was THE most exciting thing to happen in the history of the UFC’s 185lb weight class. So yeah, he gets to say a few things about excitement in the sport.

    Besides, even if by some miracle he beats Jones, Gustafsson is next inline and Chael has already verbally accepted a fight with Belfort.

  • MCM says:

    I understand that Teixeria trains at Blackhouse too, but I thought his main training camp is under Hackleman in San Louis Obispo. Kinda like GSP at Jacksons or Tristar.

    And yes, all rankings are subjective. That’s why I don’t believe in the 2>1=1 theory. I think the only thing we can all agree on is that if you’re coming off a loss, you shouldn’t get a title fight.

    Chael, Diaz, Edgar, Randy, Hendo, B.J., Eilers, etc, etc, etc,

  • AlphaOmega says:

    No coming off a loss shouldn’t get you a title shot, I’m all for the whole min of 2 fight win streak before you’re even mentioned as a possible choice for a title shot

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Lyoto went up aginst Jones on short notice. I will give the guy a chance the 2nd time around with a full camp in a 5 round fight. As for his style and being boring it takes 2 in a fight. He is following his gameplan do something about it. He dosent want to get hit and is picking his shots who blames him. I say let him have his shot and give Gustafsson at least one more fight before you send him in too Jones. Im sold on Gustafsson but I think he just needs to polish up everything for the big fight.


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