Am I calling Anderson Silva a coward? No. Anyone who steps foot in the cage to fight another competitor is cut from another breed of human. Has Anderson been accused of wearing a “mask” in the past? Absolutely. The most famous of these call-outs was by Vitor Belfort, and was later addressed when Anderson wore a porcelain-like mask at the weigh-in for their fight. Besides that instance, there have been other occasions where fighters have said that Anderson is not the person he presents himself to be in front of the cameras, in which he presents himself as a humble, respectful fighter. We’ve seen glimpses of his cockiness (or some may say showmanship) in his previous fights against Maia, Leites, Griffin…and well the list goes on. He taunts his opponents with his hands down, wiggles his hips and head, does little kung fu gestures with his hands and so forth. What I find peculiar about these actions is often overlooked by many. Most of these gestures and showboating are a direct result of fear, and to hide that fear he had to wear a mask.
Every competitor, whether they admit it or not, are scared silly when it comes to competing. Every competitor, however, has their own way of masking that deep down fear. Some put on a mask of the tough guy that is afraid of nothing. Some smile and nod and act as if the fight were the last thing they should be concerned with. And some take to excessive showboating and carelessness to hide that uneasiness of what’s to come. From my experience of competing and witnessing how others handle the pressures of competition, dancing around and goofing off are very common and hold a very secure motive for acting that way. I’ll share two examples from two different sports and two different people.
My younger brother loves to play basketball as much as I do. I happen to be way more competitive and look to win any way I can. My brother however, has a competitive side, but found a way to show that even if he loses, it’s not really a knock on him for his efforts. See, he likes to try to goof off and do silly things, so when he loses the ball or gets blocked and ultimately loses, it’s ok because even though he was trying, he was still goofing around and wanted to show that he was not really trying (even though he was for 70 percent of the game). Next example is of myself and when I sparred. I started attracting eyes when I sparred because I was quick and would for the most part get the better of my sparring partners. Every time I stepped into the ring I was a nervous wreck, mostly because I did not want to get embarrassed and have people think less of my skill. So what did I do sometimes when I sparred against someone? I goofed off and showboated a bit. Why you ask? Because if this person I sparred against somehow landed a punch on me, rung my bell, or got the better of me, I could later on say that I was just messing around and was not giving it my all. Sound familiar?
Silva has had a bull’s-eye on his back since 2007 and the man was exhausted. Yes, yes, yes, yes, I know Silva has goofed off before, but I can’t say that I’ve seen it to this magnitude. Personally, I think he was a bit worried about Weidman, on top of the pressures of defending his belt for the umpteenth time. He’s shown the world countless times how great he is, but how long can the show go on? Weidman is a dangerous dude that for once, did not show that he was afraid of Silva. So how do you prepare for possible defeat? Act out as much as possible and show off ninja like moves and fearlessness and show no respect for your opponent’s abilities. Silva eventually got caught and paid a huge price after acting foolishly to a level no one has ever seen before in the octagon. I can’t help but think all of his silly antics were a huge mask to disguise that he was terrified of losing. And I must say that it has worked. Everyone is dismissing Weidman’s victory.
“Well if Anderson really tried he would’ve won!” “If Silva weren’t clowning around, Weidman wouldn’t have had a chance in hell!” The actions worked perfectly based off of the general reactions of the fans. I’m going to close this up by realizing that he has been doing this crap for a while. But if he always had the mentality of not taking it seriously, it was going to eventually bite him in the ass, in which it finally did on Saturday night. Maybe he should have taken off that mask and acted like the great fighter we all had in mind, instead of letting everyone criticize what should have been a great title defense regardless of the outcome.