Although they trained together for years, Lyoto Machida and former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva haven't been the best of pals lately.
In January, Silva stated publicly that he was 'very disappointed' with not only Machida, but also with Ronaldo Souza, after both men admitted they wouldn't refuse a match with him.
Now in the midst of Silva's multiple failed drug tests prior to and following his bout with Nick Diaz Jan. 31 at UFC 183, Machida is standing by his old friend.
"I'm very surprised, but I think [Silva's] a victim," Machida told MMA Digest. "I think he's a story. I prefer not to talk about that because it's a very difficult situation. I have a lot of confidence in Anderson. I know that maybe he doesn't use that. I'm in camp. He's in America now. I haven't talked to him for a while. I don't know what happened. I prefer to stay away from this situation."
Asked if there has ever been pressure to use performance enhancing drugs during his own career, it's clear Machida wasn't much of a fan of treatments that were fair game up until just recently.
"I don't know," said Machida. "Sometimes back in the day it was allowed to use steroids through TRT [testosterone replacement therapy], but suddenly they banned everything. I don't know what happened. Maybe a couple guys still using TRT got caught. I try to be away from this stuff because I know it's very dangerous."
Rather than emote some exuberance over what could be more of an even playing field for clean athletes, Machida seems indifferent to the UFC's move to dramatically ramp up it's random drug testing.
"To be honest, I'm never concerned about that," said Machida. "I'm just concerned about doing my job, doing my best, but if they're very strict now it's going to be good for the sport. It's going to be good for everyone."
Very briefly linked to face No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort for the interim middleweight title Feb. 28 at UFC 184 in Los Angeles, Machida says he was very surprised the 'Phenom' opted to wait to battle the champion Chris Weidman at a later date.
Belfort will now face Weidman in the co-main event at UFC 187 May 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I thought that [Belfort] could fight against me," said Machida. "He's a very well prepared athlete. Good standup, good on the ground. He's a complete fighter, but he has his own reasons to not accept the fight. I respect his decision because I like to respect my decision when I have to decide something.
"I respect his decision, but I was down to fight. As soon as [UFC president] Dana White called me he asked about the fight. I said, 'I'm down to fight anytime,' because I never stop training. [Belfort] has his own reasons."
Machida faces fellow contender Luke Rockhold Apr. 18 at UFC on FOX 15 in Newark, New Jersey.
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Knuckle Up #377: Drugs, the Aftermath + UFC Fight Night of the Long Knives (MMA Nation)
I want to thank everyone who pushed me to the max in training camp! @TonyVillani_XPE @henrihooft @Jake_Bonacci @CoachGJones @SantiagoMMA— Michael Johnson (@FollowTheMenace) February 23, 2015
@danawhite thank you for the opportunity sir and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the bonus. #ufcchangeslives— Sam Alvey (@smilensam) February 23, 2015
Bom dia a todos , obrigado por toda a energia positiva que venho recebendo de cada um de vcs , que... http://t.co/zATE7KjpmL— Adriano Martins (@Adrianomufc) February 19, 2015
I want to thank everyone for the kind words. I had to dig deep tonight and fight from the heart. I love all the... http://t.co/5apsHlEUR4— Frankie Saenz (@FrankieSaenz) February 23, 2015
Trabajo duro será recompensado! Gracias a todos los que creen en mi!! // Trabalho duro será... https://t.co/uTlnylziiT— Santiago Ponzinibbio (@SPonzinibbioMMA) February 24, 2015
Sooo wide awake right now! I have yet to go to bed. It's 7am in Brazil and I have officially been up for 22hrs! #giddy #excited— Marion Reneau (@BelizeanBruiser) February 23, 2015
At the end of the day its all about respect. It was an honor fighting you @williampatolino Take care brother! pic.twitter.com/nl1MsjOdPL— Matt Dwyer (@MattDwyerMMA) February 24, 2015
Depois de um trabalho duro aproveitando o hotel para malhar e curti uma piscina . @ Sheraton Porto... http://t.co/BsKPdDxbBX— Ivan Batman (@ivanbatman) February 23, 2015
Better luck next time.
Congratulation for the victory @thefrankmir you back after 4 loses,I know I will be back much better and... http://t.co/l0EAcKwzgM— Antonio Pezao Silva (@BigfootSilva) February 23, 2015
Mais um dia no meu escritório! #ObrigadoJESUS #AmoMeuTrabalho 2COR.12-9 E disse-me: A minha graça te... http://t.co/ZO1AmVxJkS— Edson Barboza (@EdsonBarbozaJR) February 23, 2015
All right, my friends? I want to share a story with you.
I am very proud of me and I feel like a winner. I won my main event, which was against myself. The fact get ready to fight yesterday makes me a winner. Do not want to make excuses for defeat, never did it and now would not be the first time. Even want parabenizer Sam Alvey. He absorbed well my blows and managed to turn the tide.
But the victory I had was that God allowed me to return to work, and I am very happy and grateful. Just over five months ago, I had a serious injury in the lumbar spine. This injury have bothered me for more than 10 years, and the last two years of my life I spent asleep sitting. If slept in any other position, I did not walk the next day. During my fight with Andrew Craig, my vertebra is further shifted, so a few days later, my legs were almost paralyzed. I had to make an emergency surgery, and the procedure was done by my belly. The doctor removed the damaged disc between L5 and S1, placing a prosthesis and secure it with four screws. In the same surgery, were placed four screws and two astes from the back, and then complete the arthrodesis. 7h were surgery. To Be Continued ...
Tudo bem, meus amigos? Eu quero compartilhar uma história com vocês. Estou muito orgulhoso de mim e... https://t.co/uG2w2RQQuT— Cezar Ferreira (@cezarmutante) February 24, 2015
I want to thank @AutoShopper for sponsoring me. I came up short but I will be back stronger than ever @ufc— Rustam Khabilov (@RustamTheTiger) February 24, 2015
I do not have much to say about today, I lost !!! Head-to because I recognize my mistakes and I know I have to improve. I have much work ahead. And I can not forget to thank the people in the defeat into victory always station beside me. A big thank you to all. I do not have much to say about today, I lost !!! Head-to because I Recognize my mistakes and I know I have to Improve. I have much work ahead. And I can not forget to thank the people in the defeat into victory always beside me station. A big thank you to
Não tenho muito o que dizer sobre hoje, perdi!!! To de cabeça erguida pois reconheço meus erros e sei... http://t.co/GbfNwY8LxH— iuri marajó (@iurimarajo) February 23, 2015
Boa tarde meus amigos, infelizmente as coisas não saíram conforme planejamos, eu estava muito bem preparado e... http://t.co/ifPgeOynaE— Tiago Trator (@TiagoTrator) February 23, 2015
As long as I can refrain from getting punched in the face in the next few days I'll be alright. #googleMe— Cody Gibson (@TheRenegade559) February 23, 2015
Some Monday struggle.
Today is big day for me. Signed huge contract with company I loved since I was young @arielhelwani @MMAjunkieJohn @Dominance_MMA— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) February 23, 2015
I bigining my training camp with my brother and sparing partner. Начал свой тренировочный ... http://t.co/MDxfZh0fTa pic.twitter.com/9hisW40y11— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) February 24, 2015
I have been looking forward to this fight for a long time and now the time has come. We are headed to... https://t.co/h9Pre157Tc— Gilbert Melendez (@GilbertMelendez) February 24, 2015
Get well soon.
Shinvagina update 2 weeks later & it's healing well. #shinvagina #everyholesagoal pic.twitter.com/tmXTYGw4zO— 'Rowdy' Bec Rawlings (@RowdyBec) February 23, 2015
Tough break for @Michaelpage247, he'll be back soon, but very excited to have Brennan Ward (@SwaggleBerryFin) step up to the challenge!— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 23, 2015
UFC veteran Josh Neer explains story behind video of him beating up 'moron' at his gym http://t.co/yuzaivFFGi pic.twitter.com/7jClHZ1BTA— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) February 24, 2015
If some d-bag challenged @joshneer to a fight what's the issue? What if someone challenged Shaq to HORSE and Shaq won? #joshneer— The Pit (@Pit_Master) February 24, 2015
"If we fight for money I'll stop hitting u when you ask me. If we fight for pride, I'll stop hitting u when I feel like it." RICKSON GRACIE— Marcelino Evil (@KCBanditMMA) February 24, 2015
Got what he deserved fucking pussy http://t.co/feTBEIQpHY— Tim Sylvia (@timsylviamma) February 24, 2015
Announced yesterday (Feb. 23 2015)
Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes at UFC on FOX 15
Angela Hill vs. Tecia Torres at UFC 188
Augusto Montano vs. Cathal Pendred at UFC 188
Eddie Alvarez vs. Gilbert Melendez at UFC 188
Mark Eddiva vs. Alex White at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber
Michael Page out, Curtis Millender vs. Brennan Ward at Bellator 134
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.