By now all of you have seen the news. Anderson Silva was knocked out by Chris Weidman. It was a strange occurrence. First, let me get a few things out of the way. For those of you who say: "Silva's a cocky bastard and he got what he deserved" you're right. You act like that and this is what happens. Please no "NOW FEDOR IS THE REAL GOAT PRIDE NEVER DIE!!!!!" or any of that shit. No one goes from being the best ever to being a bum in one fight. Besides, there's way more to the conversation than just that. Silva lost while not trying Fedor lost while trying...does that sit right with you? Of course not, nor should it. If you want to call me a butthurt Silva fanboy, fine, that's a fair criticism. As a Silva fan, and a fight fan, I have a lot of complicated thoughts and feelings about this night.
More importantly, this piece is somewhat of a cathartic exercise for me. I'm sure all of you are absolutely stunned. Some of you are stunned in happiness, others are stunned in sadness. I'm probably just shocked. In every sense of the word. Before you read any longer, know that this is a piece describing my thoughts and feelings about the fight. An editorial if you will. So before you say I'm full of shit or I'm talking out of my ass, or "this isn't your fucking diary," don't say I didn't warn you. In three weeks from Monday I sit for the bar. I'm pretty sure that the thing will absolutely wreck me. I study, work hard, but nothing seems to stick. I try to read a multiple choice question, nothing sticks. I read the question eight fucking times and still...nothing. After the fight I go to do my usual Saturday Night thing, and...nothing. I almost feel like I can throw up. Now part of that is because I have an ulcer and I watched the fight at Buffalo Wild Wings and forgot my medication. Part of it is because I'm in a state of utter disbelief. No desire to go drinking. No desire to holla at the shorties. No desire to do much of anything.
Bloody Elbow is a community. A community that I feel honored to be a part of. I was banned once for bashing a fighter. I was out of line. I was venting anger in an unconstructive way and inappropriately hurling insults at a fighter I deemed to be bad. I got pissed that I was banned and thought "Y'ALL AIN'T SHIT!!!!" and went to other paces. Some places I liked, but after a while I came back to Bloody Elbow and I realized that this is where I wanted to be. Eventually I groveled and asked to get back in. I'm thankful that I was allowed back in and every day I spend entirely too much time on this site. If I didn't have this site I'd actually have to get shit done ;) I'm going to use this community as an opportunity to do some venting, for reasons of emotional health.
If you're still reading, at this point two things: thanks, and you're about to know what you're getting. Anyways, leading up to the fight I was nervous. I'm a Silva fan and I'm a fight fan. As a sports fan I appreciate greatness. Even a guy who I may not like, I still find respect for. Take LeBron James for example, I don't like the guy...and I feel bad about it. I was one of those who partook in the schadenfreude when the Mavs won. I liked Dirk, but I hated the Big 3. After that though, I accepted the first win. The second one, I was actually kinda happy about. I still hate Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the Heat. But LeBron? He's alright with me.
LeBron James is the best basketball player on planet earth. There's seven billion people on this planet and he's the best at basketball. That's insane to think about. That puts him in the ten billionth percentile of what he does. Lots of people say "Oh man Dr. James Andrews, best orthopedic surgeon in the world!" Or "Gerry Spence, best lawyer ever." But is there any evidence for that? No, not really. Just hyperbole.
In sports we have the evidence. In this example, the NBA is the highest level of competition for basketball. The kid you know that was good in high school, wasn't playing at the highest level. The best basketball players in the world play in the NBA. Of those players, the best players get playing time. Through the brilliance of statistical analysis we can see who the best is. We can, to a large degree, measure someone's contribution on the court. By all the metrics we have, LeBron is the best in the league. Meaning he's the best in the world. Go look at Hollinger's player rating if you don't believe me. And oh by the way, he's so good that an NBA team just picked him up. Even without the subjective measures, we know that LeBron is the best player in the world. Look at how many other teams wanted to sign him when he was a free agent? Look at Cleveland before and now look at them...hell, look at the city before and after, not just the team.
Getting back to Anderson Silva, I was partly a fan because he was the best fighter ever. In the history of my favorite sport, he's the best ever. Damn. Crazy to think about. I knew eventually he would lose. I held out hope he wouldn't go out like Fedor, Couture, Hughes, Chuck, or any of the other greats. I didn't want to see him become footage in someone else's highlight reel. Because, that shit's hard to watch. It's crazy to think that Bigfoot Silva stopped the Last Emperor, and it sucks to realize that Fedor got to such a point where he was a shell of himself that Bigfoot could put a beating like that on him. I knew Silva would lose, but if he did I wanted it to be to Jon Jones. To pass the torch to the greatest talent the sport has ever seen. Maybe even to GSP I'd be okay with...GSP isn't too far behind Silva on the all time list, don't fool yourself.
Now, on to the fight. I was nervous. Luke Thomas, whom I adore, laid out a very compelling case for picking Weidman and a lot of people backed him up. Match up wise, it's a bad fight for Silva. Weidman is no joke, and a legitimate championship caliber fighter. After that though, I saw some other people who I respect picking Silva, and having good reasons for it. I was thinking: going to be something crazy. I was worried, but a part of me just thought Silva would pull it out because he's Silva.
Then came the media call. Silva said some bizarre things. Wins and losses don't matter, I've accomplished what I can. I was nervous. I was reassured that Silva still has a chance. "Silva's a weird dude," "He always does shit like this," etc. etc. After that came, fight week. A week where Silva showed absolutely zero worries about making weight, the fight, losing, his legacy, anything, he even let Weidman hold the belt. Dominick Cruz is a cocky dude that will talk shit about someone, especially Urijah Faber...the only guy he lost to, and he learned some Portuguese tell Barao "you ain't touchin this," and Silva is just all "here go ahead." No matter how you put it this was different. Bonnar, Maia, Forrest, and anyone else you can think of. No one thought they had a legitimate chance of beating him. Look at the Hendo fight week or the second Sonnen fight week...that's where you saw a guy that actually wanted to win. He kissed Weidman not only in between rounds, but at the weighins. This isn't wearing a mask at a face off or shouldering a guy...he kissed a dude. His hands were behind his back, he didn't care what happened. He said he's already accomplished everything he can. Before the fight he said tune in, you'll see something you've never seen before. "I don't think I can beat Jones." Just things you don't hear from Champions. Kobe Bryant hit two free throws with a torn Achilles tendon, and now when asked about his legacy, Jon Jones, super fights, Silva's thoughts are basically "meh." "Fighting is my job." Please, you think Derek Jeter thinks baseball "is his job?" Hell no. It's his calling, it's his purpose, it's everything to him. He'll work his balls off, grind through whatever it takes to win. He'll play hurt, put in extra time, and do what ever he can do to win.
The first round was absolutely bizarre. Weidman tagged him with a jab, he's like "please try that one more time." Another thing that's fundamentally different from his previous fights. Usually he just wants guys to come after him. Maia, he wouldn't go to the ground with. Bonnar he exchanged with. Weidman was hitting him, and he's like "do it some more." At one point he even pointed to his leg and asked Weidman to take him down. What the fuck? He wouldn't go to the ground with Thales Leites, but asks Weidman to try and take him down? When he was bobbing and weaving, he used to counter. He just leaned back tonight. Something about this was different.
Now of course, you can say "Omar you're a dumbass. You're only saying this is different because Silva lost. Post ergo hoc propter hoc." Fair enough. If Silva lost in a manner predicted by Luke or any of the other guys picking Weidman, I might be singing a different tune. If Silva won I'd be talking myself into maybe he could beat Bones. These are all true. However, you can't ignore that this is a different and much more detached Silva. He's never gone soft on an American, and he's never gone soft on someone that people actually thought could legitimately beat him. Not "well if he catches him with/in something," like legitimately thought could beat him. He kissed Weidman after the first round, shook his hands, hugged him, and was all "meh."
Not only that, but after the fight. "No rematch, no more title fights, my legacy is done." It's almost as if he retired right there in the Octagon. It's like he basically told Chris Weidman: "I'll let you win, but you have to beat me." At the press conference, during the lead up, in the fight...did anyone really think that he gave a shit about winning? It's not that he wanted to lose, but at the very least he certainly didn't mind it. When guys who want to win lose, they want another shot. Junior Dos Santos, he wants back in the game. He wants his belt back. Anderson Silva? "Meh." When the 49ers lost the Super Bowl, the remaining players were crushed. They wanted back at it, they wanted another shot. They could have legitimately said that they were robbed on a questionable PI call, but they didn't. They wanted to win legitimately and cleanly. Silva, doesn't even want a title fight, let alone a rematch. He almost looked relieved. Not that he wanted to lose, but he clearly didn't mind losing and winning didn't seem too high on his priority lists. I'm not saying Silva threw the fight, took a dive, or it was rigged or anything...but the fact that people have to go out and actually say that says quite a bit. The "he got what he deserved" crowd bugs me. Do you honestly think he cared? Did he look as if losing at all ruined his day? Hell he looked happier now than he did in the pre-fight press tour.
This brings me to what kills me the most. As an MMA fan, I felt cheated. I didn't leave feeling like the better man won. Often times in fights, guys lose and I think maybe in a rematch they might win. Cain/Junior II was like that. I thought Junior Dos Santos didn't take him seriously enough, perhaps if he made a few adjustments he could win, but I still thought Cain was the better man that night. Very rarely, though, do I leave a fight absent the feeling that the better man won. Bad decisions are different. I left this feeling like I just watched a guy who didn't even care. I left thinking "if Silva tries in that fight he smokes him." Silva basically had to do the dumbest thing he could have done to lose. That's saying something. That's certainly a far cry from the "oh man...he's the guy to beat Anderson Silva, GREAT match up." It's "what the fuck was that shit, I want my money back."
I don't want to take anything away from Chris Weidman because he is a legitimate championship caliber fighter, but I can't help but to feel that he was the less awful fighter tonight. Not the better one. And that's what bugs me the most. Not only could my guy have won, but my guy lost in a way that makes me cast a doubt on the sport. The next few title matches with Weidman are going to feel a bit fake. Somewhat contrived. I can't even begin to think about Silva's next fight. I don't even know if I want to watch another one. I mean the dude just quit in the octagon. It's like when Barry Sanders retired in his prime, except if he took a hand off and ran backwards to score a safety, or purposefully fumbled the ball. If Siva honestly thought he made a tactical error, wouldn't he ask for a rematch? Does anyone think that we saw Silva's best effort? Does anyone honestly think that Weidman is the more skilled fighter? Now you could say "OH HE DOESN'T WANT TO LOOK LIKE A JERK!!!" but if he didn't want to look like a jerk would he have done that? That's what the most frustrating thing was. This is not a part of Silva's game plan when he fights Americans, or guys that are supposed to fight him close. This is what he does to guys he's supposed to blow the doors off of. If Weidman beat him "legitimately" I'd still be shocked...but I'm unsure I'd have this empty feeling.
Which sucks. Because Weidman could have done it legitimately. He could have tired Silva out and beaten him. Weidman is a great fighter. He's fun to watch, he seems like a nice guy, and he's still relatively young. It's unfortunate that he had to become champion like this. Imagine if he fights Vitor in Brazil next? Either way, you'll have this guy who won a championship under suspect circumstances as your champ or you'll have a guy that they have to plan events around his steroid use. Does anyone want to see Weidman/GSP? Weidman/Jones? There were people that thought that Silva might beat Jones...anyone think that about Weidman? Maybe I'm wrong here but I don't get that impression.
Speaking of Jones, this is another odd scenario. Everyone says Jones is a cocky, a jerk, whatever...but would he ever do this? Does he ever behave the way Silva does in a pre-fight build up? When Vitor had him in the arm bar, instead of tapping he risked irreparable harm to his body and slammed his way out of it. Even when matched up with a clearly inferior Chael he just beat the piss out of him. Now, he did it in a somewhat arrogant way in his "screw that" manner. But he still took it too him. He still prepared and actively looked to do damage. Love him or hate him, he is a fighter that will always bring the fight to you and he's a million times tougher than anyone gives him credit for. Tonight just showed us how lucky we are to have a guy like Jon Jones in this sport.
Oh well. Anyways, if you stuck through it you're a trooper and I truly thank you for reading my pointless rambles. Tomorrow the professionals will put it in proper perspective for me and show me what an amateur I am. Looking forward to the Bathrobe and Knuckle Up. Who knows. Maybe Anderson will get this sudden urge to fight for a title again and Weidman will beat him while he's putting up a real fight and this will all be for naught. Or maybe he'll get a win and avenge the loss. Nobody knows. At any rate, I certainly feel better getting all of this out there. The sun will rise tomorrow as proof that I'm just some asshole making way too big of a deal over something ultimately inconsequential. Thanks for reading if you're still there. Lemme know what you think in the comments. Think I'm full of it? Think I'm talking out of my ass? Like what I have to say? Lemme know!
p.s. Three potential match ups Weidman/Vitor, Weidman/Bisping, or Weidman/Machida.