Anderson Silva: Has the Champion Earned the Right to Choose His Opponents?
Anderson Silva is many things.
He is the undisputed UFC middleweight champion of the past 321 years.
He is the most feared striker to ever step foot into the Octagon, and he is also regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time (a sentiment which I personally agree with).
What "The Spider" is not, however, is a UFC matchmaker, so we need to stop letting him and his camp act like one.
After destroying Chael Sonnen in the much-anticipated rematch at UFC 148, fans and critics began formulating lists of possible next opponents.
Who will it be?
A trilogy with Chael?
This was all fine and dandy, because it is just fans and guys who sit on a computer talking about MMA all day having some fun with potential matchups for a fighter who has seemingly nobody left to fight.
But then came the reports from Jorge Guimaraes, Silva's manager, that nobody was worthy of fighting Silva.
Should Anderson Silva be allowed to handpick opponents?
Hold on, now.
Why do you have a say in the matter again?
Silva is a mixed martial artist, and, like all other mixed martial artists, there is a line of fighters waiting to fight him. These fighters will establish themselves with a couple quality wins and then get a shot at the title; that is just how it works.
For Guimaraes to discard a guy like Weidman and call him "amateur" is flat-out disrespectful and against the flow of the sport and the middleweight division.
You do not choose who you fight. Joe Silva does that, and he does a phenomenal job at it.
I understand that Anderson Silva has the biggest paycheck in the sport and is a worldwide recognizable face. Blah blah blah. He is not the UFC's matchmaker, and neither is his manager.
It is OK for them to speculate like the rest of us, but do not think for a second that the UFC does not listen when they speak. They do. They care what their biggest superstar wants, and they will keep him happy.
That is why this is not fair. In Guimaraes saying that certain fighters should not fight Silva, he is messing with the matchmaking process of Joe Silva and the UFC, and he is disrupting the natural order of the division.
Do you think Alan Belcher hand-picked Rousimar Palhares in his last bout? Do you think Brian Stann really wanted to fight Sonnen, a fighter everyone knew would expose his weak wrestling?
No, I'm sure they did not envy those matchups, but they took them because it is a business, and you do what your boss tells you to do.
Anderson, you are many things, but you are not the boss of the UFC. You do not select your opponents.
Leave that to them, and they will leave you to destroying whoever they line up.
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