(Go easy on me. Im in no way a writer)
To me one of the fights that changed the history of the sport was the utter destruction of Rich Franklin in Franklin vs Silva at UFC 64. Rich had become champion of the 185 pound division by utilizing more heart and hard work than natural skill... but it worked for him. When I watched this fight with my friends on TV I couldn’t decide whether to be happy that a legit Muay Thai fighter with serious skills was here to stay or to be sorry for watching Franklin get tossed around like he was a white belt.
Before the fight you could almost see the fear in Franklin’s eyes as he walked out to the cage. While Franklin was nervously walking to the cage, Rogan started talking about how Silva was going to be easily Franklin’s toughest test to date. The cameras then showed Franklin’s wife who also looked incredibly scared for her husband. It was as if they were already building the case for what was about to happen.
During the fight neither I nor my friends could believe that the UFC poster boy was getting mutilated the way he did on live TV. When Silva lay in the first knee to Franklin’s ribs we all stopped talking and stared at the TV wide eyed. We couldn’t believe it. Even after the very first knee Franklin dropped his right arm to help protect himself and cover up. Then Silva turned it up another notch and dragged Franklin across the Octagon landing knees at will. Franklin was clinging on with desperation in his eyes. As we watched Silva land some of the most brutal knees ever seen in the UFC we couldn’t help but think that this will severely impact not only the 185 lb division, but the rest of the world as well. As Franklin is nearly KO’d he tries to push away from Silva. In the process he takes what is one of the worst knees to his nose and Silva walked away with the win. Any normal human being that watches Silva place this final knee on Franklin’s nose cannot help but get a shiver down their back when they see the aftermath of it. It is literally hard to watch.
This fight helped me realize something. That I shouldn’t give into the marketing tactics that promotion companies excel at. Even with everything that happened if you had asked me before the fight who was going to win I would have said Franklin hands down. Because of this fight I almost never pay attention to hype or any of the "he said she said" stuff that goes on. I would like to think that this helped other people realize this too. It not only introduced them to real life long talent, but proved that anything can happen in MMA. This is why the sport has catapulted to its status today. We all got a glimpse of one of the best MMA fighters in the entire world that night. We all knew Silva was good before he was in the UFC, but we didn’t know he would turn out to be one of the best.
Long live MMA,