In Surprising News, Former UFC Champion Lyoto Machida is Moving to Bellator…
This has come completely out of left field. Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has announced that he will sign for Bellator once he sees out his contract. So far the deal hasn’t been signed, but it’s understood that a verbal agreement is in place, as per ESPN.
It’s surprising in the sense that Machida had shown no signs of leaving the organization he had faithfully served for eleven years. The Brazilian ex-champion is also currently riding a two-fight win streak. It would have been less unexpected if he had moved during his losing run in the UFC middleweight division.
Machida was one of the most popular fighters in the company when he was at his peak. He’s not the first ranked UFC fighter to jump ship in recent years, with former lightweight champion Benson Henderson on Bellator’s roster, as well as the likes of Rory MacDonald and Gegard Mousasi.
It’s a coup for Bellator in the sense that he’s arguably the most distinctive fighter they could have signed at middleweight. He’s definitely better known than the current UFC champion, Robert Whittaker. That’s not disrespect – we love Bobby Knuckles – it’s a simple fact. ‘The Dragon’ with his distinctive style was an epic karate stylist and great fighter from one of the most exciting eras of the UFC.
He will definitely be an interesting addition to Bellator’s middleweight roster. In the UFC, Machida has been relegated to gatekeeper status. Before beating Eryk Anders and Fabricio Werdum – the latter with an amazing front kick – he had dropped losses to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, and Derek Brunson. That kind of shows where he’s at.
Machida is generally respected by his fellow MMA fighters as an all-around nice guy and a top professional. However, he did serve an 18-month ban for a PED violation. The substance was called 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone and detected before his fight with Dan Henderson. ‘The Dragon’ is still tetchy about his lengthy ban, which he claims were accidental.
Some sources are claiming that his recent history with the company might have forced his hand. At the age of 40 now, his best days are long behind him, even if Bellator is getting a fighter who is in form. Also, Bellator doesn’t adhere to USADA’s standards. Make of that what you will…
It’s always interesting when Bellator manages to snatch a fighter from the UFC’s grasp. Big names like Roy Nelson, Matt Mitrione, and Chael Sonnen have all preferred the rival promotion in recent years, quite simply because they’ve got more independence and earn more from sponsorship opportunities.
For the neutral fan, this is a good thing. Boxing fans don’t care who is promoting the best fighters as long as they fight each other. You could make a case that the fact that the UFC tries to monopolize the western MMA market is a bad thing. Could we one day see fighters competing for both the Bellator and UFC belts at the same time? Now, that would be exciting.