Lyoto Machida on what his own suspension taught him about not judging others
In November of 2016, Lyoto Machida accepted an 18-month suspension that, considering penalties handed to others, some thought to be too harsh.
“While I was fighting all of this, trying to find a culprit, saying (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) was being too strict on the punishment and this and that, I wasn’t growing as a person. My career stopped. The minute I had the acceptance and the responsibility that I made a mistake, everything started changing in my life. Things started going well. And things started happening – different things – that weren’t in the octagon, that weren’t fight opportunities.
“But (they) were learning experiences for my life, things that helped me as a human, as a person. So I don’t blame anyone. It was my fault.”
“At first, I thought (the suspension) was too stern,” Machida said. “But everything happens for a reason. I looked at all of it under a positive light.”
“I saw that as a moment that I needed to step away a bit,” Machida said. “I needed this hiatus to grow, too. I took some time for myself. I wanted to step away from all of this, from the media. I wanted to see things from the outside, from a different angle. And I had that opportunity with this. I capitalized on it and developed other things. Often, we think life has only one path. And this showed me there are other paths in life.”
“At first, when the news breaks, you get labeled as a cheater,” Machida said. “You get labeled as someone who tried to get an edge in some way. But, mostly, it’s by the people who don’t know you. So you need to have a good mind, to be able to deal with that. It’s very easy to judge people.
“But given what I went through and this learning experience I’ve been having, I see it’s a very delicate situation. Judging a person – many times you don’t know. Even Jon Jones. He went through something, and many people started judging and talking. But no one knows.”
“No one really knows what happened,” Machida said. “And, if you do, what do we have to do with it? It’s his life. We all need to worry about our lives. It doesn’t matter what. We’re often too worried about other people and forget about ourselves. We’re often comparing ourselves to others.
“And this comparison, even in my situation – I was not fighting. So, at first, when there wasn’t acceptance, there was a comparison. ‘Everyone is fighting, and I’m not.’ And then I said, ‘No, this is my time.’ Everyone has their lives. Some people start college at 18, others do it at 40, 50. Some people find success when they’re 30, others at 20.
“It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. It matters what I’m doing. What I’m training. What I’m living.”