After a whirwind 24 hours that has surrounded the cancellation of UFC 151, Lyoto Machida's camp has issued its first statement after turning down a title fight against Jon Jones.
"I want to serve the UFC and recapture the belt. I always respect my opponent," Machida said in a written statement through his camp, Black House. "For those reasons, I must prepare myself in the manner I believe in."
Following the cancellation of next weekend's UFC 151 card on Thursday, UFC President Dana White announced that Jones would defend his title against Machida in the main event of UFC 152 on September 22. The promotion appeared to have jumped the gun, however, as Machida had not accepted the fight. Published reports late Thursday also stated that former titleholder, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, also declined a fight with Jones.
Machida campaigned to face Jones at UFC 153 on October 13 in his home country of Brazil, though, it was Vitor Belfort — a choice of opponent who surprised many — who got the title shot.
With UFC 152 one month away, former UFC light heavyweight champion turned middleweight, Belfort, will now step in to face Jones at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on September 22.
About the Author
Written by Matt Manzella
Matt Manzella is the founder and managing editor of CageReligion.com, as well as ProGuitarNews.com. He also serves as a professional play-by-play commentator and MMA judge in the state of Michigan.
Matt Manzella is the managing editor for CageReligion.com and host of Cage Religion Radio. Matt has been working in the television broadcasting industry for over seven years and is also a play-by-play commentator and judge for the Impact Fight League and Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting.
Phil Lanni is the co-host of Cage Religion Radio. Phil wrestled three years in the NCWA at Grand Valley State University -- a team that won nationals all three years. As an individual, Phil is a three-time national qualifier and was ranked seventh in the nation at 184-pounds to earn All-American status. Phil also serves as a color commentator and judge for the Impact Fight League.