Caption: Will the real Anderson Silva please stand up?
Anderson “The Spider” Silva has long been known for his aggressive style of striking.
However, in his last two fights, Silva has adapted a more passive approach. But the passive-aggressive style being spoken of here has nothing to do with his actual “come to blows” strategy.
In his UFC 97 postmortem piece, Jake Rossen put forth a theory that is just crazy enough to be plausible. He suggests that Silva’s recent behavior could have more to do with passively-aggressively getting back at the UFC brass versus a change in octagon tactics.
“The latest conspiracy to make the rounds: that Anderson Silva is sabotaging his UFC fights in an attempt to be released from his contract so he can box Roy Jones Jr. We know Silva does indeed want to box Jones, a contest that might be considered a very painful form of hero worship. We know the UFC is not about to dull the shine of its product by allowing a champion to get knocked around in a boxing ring. We know this peeved Silva to some extent.”
To really figure out if Silva may in fact be acting passive-aggressive, let’s explore some of the characteristics that really define passive-aggressive behavior.
Some common symptoms of passive-aggressive behavior include acting stubborn and surly, being inefficient on purpose, blaming others, complaining, feeling resentment, having unexpressed anger or hostility, procrastinating, and resisting other people's suggestions.
The person displaying such behavior may appear to comply with another's wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, in reality they perform the requested action too late to be helpful, perform it in a way that is useless, and sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words.
In short, it is a passive, almost obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or work situations. While labeling Silva "passive-aggressive" is something I would rather put off, one thing is for certain: Silva has not been himself since his win over Dan Henderson.
That fight took place March 1, 2008. At the time, most believed Anderson Silva had cleared out the middleweight division with his second round submission over the former PRIDE FC champion.
Back then, Silva had made it clear he was thinking about “greener pastures,” and those pastures looked to include a boxing match with Roy Jones Jr.
But just one month after the Henderson fight, Dana White killed any notion of a fight with Jones Jr. by confirming to Dave Meltzer that Anderson Silva would not be permitted to fight the Hall of Fame boxer in a boxing match.
According to Meltzer, the UFC told Silva’s camp there is no sense for them to sell the match to the public, because they wouldn’t sign off on it.
The report went on to state that Anderson Silva’s camp responded to the speculation that it started due to an offhand remark made to a reporter. Meltzer added that while he was not the reporter who asked the initial question, when talking to Silva’s camp about a next opponent, Silva’s camp told him Silva wanted Jones.
Five months later, Silva shocked the world by throwing the retirement word around.
In an interview with Brazilian cable channel SporTV, Silva said, "I'll retire next year. I already gave my all. I don't need to prove anything for anyone and within one year I'll put my gloves aside.”
His manager, Ed Soares, was quick to downplay the possibility, only to have Silva “confirm” the retirement talk in October, just prior to his fight with Patrick Cote.
At the time, people speculated that Silva was using such language as a ploy to get more cash.
Silva was asked if it bothers him that people like Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson, who aren't even champions, get paid more to fight.
"It has nothing to do with money because I'm a humble person who has an ordinary life," Silva said, translated from Portuguese in a video by Sherdog.com. "Actually I never did it for money, as a matter of fact; I believe my time is over."
So all this time, was the retirement talk really motivated by Silva being upset with authority figure Dana White for killing his dreams of fighting Roy Jones Jr.?
After Silva’s bizarre fight with Patrick Cote at UFC 90, he talked about how sorry he was for his performance.
"I want to apologize to everyone in the stadium and everyone watching on TV," Anderson Silva stated following his latest win. "Fighters, you don't know what they go through, they go through a lot of training, cutting weight, they fight being hurt, and Patrick should not be booed. Because you don't know what it's like to be in here and go through a training camp like we all do, and he should be applauded. I'll be back here again to put on another show for everybody."
Silva spoke about wanting to get back into the octagon as soon as possible, and there was talk of him fighting at UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar.
The rumor was quickly pushed back to UFC 92. Then the word was that Silva might fight Chuck Liddell at UFC 95 in London, England.
Finally, it was announced that Silva would fight Thales Leites at UFC 97.
During that time Silva status went from “wanting to get right back into the octagon” to saying “a Feb. 21 date in London was too soon for Silva's next bout.”
Cleary Silva was telegraphing mixed signals to the UFC brass.
The one thing he was clear on was his March 24 statement in Gracie Magazine.
“After my contract with the UFC ends and end my career in MMA, I intend to have a boxing match with Roy Jones. That's something that's already been arranged, it's all practically a done deal. Now I just have to wait and see.”
After his UFC 97 fight, where his style went from “strange to elusive,” Silva chose not to apologize to the fans. This time he called the fans into question, saying that they may not understand his style of fighting.
As for Dana White, he too changed his tune.
After the Patrick Cote fight, White said, “I think he had a bad night tonight, and I think we saw that he's human. Even he can have a bad night."
After the Leites fight, he was a bit more verbose.
“I can honestly tell you that I’ve never put on an event that I was embarrassed to be at until tonight. I want to publicly apologize to all the fans.... I apologize. I personally apologize for what happened tonight. You guys know, this isn’t what the UFC was built on, and this isn’t the way the fights usually go. Listen, any night you can have an off night. When a guy is that talented and can literally end a fight whenever he wants to, wow.”
Wow what, Dana White?
Wow, you can’t believe Anderson Silva just broke the record for nine octagon wins in a row?
Wow, you can’t believe Anderson Silva had a second straight unsettled fight, causing the UFC to be tarnished once again in the process?
Wow, is Dana White the real passive-aggressive one, scheduling perhaps the best pound for pound fighter in the sport against mediocre competition?
Whatever the wow may be, one thing is for certain: All that's gold does not glitter.
Everything is not what it seems, at least not at first glance.
So is Silva using sabotage in action to show anger that he cannot express in words?
The future of Anderson Silva appears to be anything but certain.