Photo by Tracy Lee via Combat Lifestyle
I thought both of these pieces had an interesting take on the Silva situation, from very different perspectives. Here's Donna from Gal's Guide to MMA on Anderson Silva:
Here's the problem. Anderson Silva is the best MMA fighter ever. There is no one out there that even comes close to having the kind of talent that Silva does. Silva was fighting Maia, arguably the best BJJ fighter in the UFC, and the difference between their skill levels was a joke. Anderson Silva is a Hermes Birkin crocodile handbag, and everyone else is just a Louis Vuitton knockoff. (Sorry boys, but the girls know what I mean.) However, this by no means gives Silva the right to act the way he did last night. If you're that good, and no one can provide a challenge to you, then leave the sport gracefully. Work on getting the fastest KO in history. Try your hand at different weight classes. Do something besides what you did last night. Silva has stated that he wants a shot at GSP, and then perhaps he'll move up to heavyweight and try his luck there. But I'd say the chance of Dana White letting that happen after last night's debacle is slim and none.
So, what's going to happen next? I'm really not sure, but I do know that MMA fans have a long memory. Silva probably permanently damaged his fan base after last night. The guy still holds the belt, so he's going to get the chance to defend it, but is anyone going to be rooting for him to win? The part that really sucks for me is, there isn't anyone out there that can take it from him. So now we have a middleweight champ that no one wants to see win, and a complete lack of fighters that can take him out. I'd say Dana White is in quite a pickle, no?
As everyone knows by now, I think Dana White created his own problem by booking Anderson Silva in fights that aren't worthy of his talents and can solve his problem by booking Silva in fights that ARE worthy of his talents. But I tend to agree with Donna that Dana is too petulant and vindictive to do the right thing.
Here's a very different perspective from Cage Side Seats. I think it's a brilliant look at the Anderson Silva situation from the outside. Luke Thomas thinks it "is a perfect example of the nihilism of pro wrestling rusting over sporting standards." Enjoy:
Time and again, the vast majority of the viewing audience rants and raves about how Anderson Silva is a mockery of a fighter, a no-good coward, or some similar nonsense. Yet, time and again, he comes back and dominates and the same complainers come back, hoping someone beats him. In pro wrestling terminology, this is textbook "heel champion" behavior, and a formula that has worked for years.
What no one ever seems to mention is that Silva is out-of-this-world good. He's a shining talent that only comes along once in a generation. Amazingly, UFC currently has both Silva and Georges St. Pierre, who are more than likely the greatest MMA fighters of all time in their respective weight classes (granted, it's a short history, but still). The difference between the two is that Georges St, Pierre believes in respecting the UFC fans and his opponents. He engages and beats them soundly, usually putting on a great show, because he's a joy to watch. Silva, on the other hand, has no hang-ups like respect to worry about, and for my money, the end result is endlessly more enjoyable and his last several fights, where he flaunted this flagrant disrespect for everyone and everything, have resulted in some of my favorite MMA fights of all time.
Now, back in his own weight class, Silva is bored and unchallenged again, so he's gone back to his grandstanding and head games. And why should anyone blame him? He's been bored with his weight class for years and expressed a vehement interest in boxing a match against Roy Jones Jr. Unfortunately, Dana White would have no part of it. On Saturday, Silva faced Demian Maia, a fine fighter but nowhere near Silva's league. Silva did what Silva does, effortlessly took the first three rounds, then played keepaway from a frustrated Maia for the final two rounds and won the unanimous decision. Dana White claims to be livid and "embarrassed" by the performance, going so far as to have left ringside in the fourth round because he was "annoyed" by Silva.
I wish I could say that I understand Dana's compulsion to side with the moronic fans decrying Silva's antics. The harsh truth of the situation is that Silva is an unstoppable shooting star of a fighter who isn't going to be around forever. If I were Dana/UFC, I would talk up how ungodly good the guy is in interviews, on television, in promos, on commercials, on commentary during the fights, everything I could, because it's all true. UFC has proved time and again that it's easy to condition the fans to embrace your viewpoint if you push it hard enough. I have no idea why they wouldn't want to in this situation, unless they really are in the pro wrestling mindset that a strong heel champ will draw the most money for them. It's not a bad idea, but I don't know if I can give White that much credit. They aren't going to find anyone who can beat him, and it's clear that Silva doesn't care even a little bit about what his employers or viewing public think of him.
UFC is clearly hoping for a superfight between Silva and GSP, which should be off the charts. But beyond that, MMA fans really need to stop complaining and start appreciating, because you're not going to see many fighters this good in your lifetime. Appreciate the master's art.
It's that last bit that I would emphasize. Anderson Silva is a talent we might never see again in our lifetimes. I don't expect anything from Anderson Silva beyond making the most of that talent. He's certainly kept himself in top condition and is constantly improving his game. Anderson Silva is a total jackass. It's a waste of everyone's time to try to impose standards of behavior on him. If he wants to act like a man-child, whatever. There's a very simple cure for Silva's antics: put him in the cage with someone so scary that he can't act up.
I can think of ten fights I'd kill to see featuring Anderson Silva right off the top of my head. Dana White has an obligation to the fans and the sport to book Silva against the most dangerous fighters of our era. These fights are very real possibilities. It's up to Dana and Ed Soares to make them happen. Here we go:
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Brock Lesnar
- Cain Velasquez
- Gegard Mousasi
- Lyoto Machida
- Antonio Rogerio Nogeira
- Mauricio Shogun Rua
- Jon Jones
- Frank Mir
- Alistair Overeem
I think realistically that Silva has about three to six years to remain at this peak of form and ability. It should be possible to make at least four of these fights happen in that time period. Anything less (with the exception of Chael Sonnen or Vitor Belfort) is a waste of very precious time.
And if Dana wants to punish Silva he can book all of these fights on Spike TV for free.