What was the bounty Dana White paid Lyoto Machida for beating Tito Ortiz?
Earlier this week, Dana White admitted during an interview with Los Angeles radio host Big Boy that only once during his decade-long run as UFC president has he dipped into his own pocket to pay out a bounty ... err ... bonus, for a UFC victory. It was when Lyoto Machida defeated Tito Ortiz in May 2008, a time which came at the height of White's feud with Ortiz, and just a year after their much-hyped boxing match was abandoned by Ortiz at the last minute.
To put it bluntly, by that point, White and Ortiz simply needed to be divorced. Machida's win ensured that not only would that happen, but also that Ortiz would enter free agency on a losing streak. It was a situation that made White a happy man.
Machida realized that soon afterward, when White invited him to dinner, he told FOX Sports on Wednesday, just a few days ahead of his UFC Fight Night main event with Gegard Mousasi. Sitting in a Las Vegas restaurant, White handed him a check and told him the money was from his own personal account.
So how much did he get?
"Fifty-thousand," Machida said through his interpreter.
"Fifty-thousand?" I asked in order to confirm the number.
There was a beat of silence, then laughter in the background, then Machida speaking Portuguese.
"He would rather not say," his interpreter said a moment later. "He's actually laughing here. He's saying that number, but he'd rather not say."
Hmm. So did he blurt out the actual number and then change his mind about making it public, or was he joking all along?
Who knows? In the end, it's typical Machida to have the person opposite him baffled and grasping at straws. So with our interview nearing its end, I figured like many others who've tried him and struggled, I'd overextend myself and take one last Hail Mary of an overhand right.
"You want to give me that number again?" I asked him. "Was it $50,000?"
"No," he said with a laugh. "It's a secret. Ask Dana."
Nearly 36 years old yet still so elusive.