There are sure to be those who say, “A win is a win by any means”, but when you are a Champion in any sport there are things that you are supposed to practice and one of them is “performing” like a champion and not just someone trying to win by the skin of their teeth, playing it “safe” and being the “smarter” fighter.
Anderson Silva’s lack of aggression plan against Thales Leites was, at the very least, a ‘W’ in the win column at the end of the five-round title bout at UFC 97, but like a headache most collage kids get after laying under a funnel filled with cheap beer all night, this chess-game performance as a champion fighter defending his title will need more than two aspirin and another apology to cure the pain for not putting on a fight show for UFC fans.
I wondered how the post-fight press conference would go with the reporters.
Would the questions be geared toward the victory of nine straight fights or would they be about Silva’s strategy of circling his opponent for over three minutes of the first round, holding his fist out to touch gloves with Leites as if he missed it during the ref’s instructions, and then followed by four more rounds of the same strategy?
The questions immediately went to the latter and Silva’s response was that he fought the fight just as he planned; not every fight can be exciting. When did UFC cage fighting turn into a chess match having the smarter fighter crowned champion?
Boy, that must have been a long boring training camp sweeping his sparing partner and then waiting for him to get up instead of attempting to finish him like a champion.
This was not an under card fight or a UFC rookie trying to just get his first win in the octagon where getting the win any way he can is important, this was the Middleweight World Champion UFC fighter, who has been labeled by most as the best pound-for-pound fighter defending his title.
The fans deserve to see a fight, not a cat-and-mouse chess match planned to do just enough to beat his opponent on the judges scorecard and not a kick more.
This seems to be Silva’s new fight PLAN which he implemented against Patrick Cote as well and saw the boo’s and disappointment of the UFC fans after that fight as his reward.
What would any other professional sport be if the champion team went out on the field and did “just enough” to win every game and not dominate their opponent to prove they are champs for a reason? Would people continue to pay for this type of performance? I think not.
While the fight took place, I monitored five live MMA message boards and wondered if I was the only one who was in disbelief by Silva’s fight plan.
The boards lit up with words in response to this technique that can not be printed here, but for the most part they were not positive nor were they in support of Silva, even from his own fans. People were not happy or impressed with his win, nor was I.
People pay good money to attend these events or to watch them on pay-per-view, so fight. That is the sport, to fight, inflict pain and win as a result.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying “This is not a chess match where the smarter player wins; this is a professional fight where you get paid to beat the other person with physical strength & technique ALONG with using your brains.”
This fight like the Patrick Cote bout was too much thinking and not enough doing on Silva’s part.
There are several UFC fans who will not be plopping down those scarce government issued slices of colored paper with large numbers printed on them for the next Anderson Silva fight, and I’ll be in that crowd. Instead of buying PPV, I will be tossing my money out of my car window while driving through a poor neighborhood.
At least I'll be entertained and know the person running into the street dodging traffic to pick it up will have earned it properly.