Fans of mixed martial arts can be an odd bunch at times. They’re quick to point out when a fight is boring and quick to let fighters know they expect some type of show for their ducats. However, cross the line from putting on a show to being perceived as a show-off, and a fighter will face the wrath of the MMA community. One fighter that has been accused of crossing that line on more than one occasion is UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Silva is often clearly operating a few levels above that of his opponents, and when he knows that, he can sometimes throw that fact in the face of his opposition. He doesn’t do this in interviews or when speaking of his opponent, but we’ve seen it multiple times in the past when the door closes to the Octagon.
The most blatant examples were the three-fight stretch against opponents Patrick Cote, Thales Leites and Demian Maia. Silva’s in-cage theatrics during those bouts left UFC president Dana White openly frustrated and apologetic to fans.
Most recently, we saw that type of fight from Silva when he faced Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. Silva, fighting at light heavyweight became the first man to ever stop Bonnar via strikes in that fight, but not before showing Bonnar that he was no threat at all to Silva. Standing still with his back against the cage and his hands by his sides, Silva practically dared Bonnar to try and mount some type of offense, before dispatching him with a brutal knee to the body.
Anderson is a guy that rubs many people the wrong way. He’s not a humble guy. Even though he may speak humbly when he talks, when he is in the ring he doesn’t act humble. He puts down his opponents, he acts in a way that again, we always now what is right and what is wrong, and by looking at that we know it’s wrong. It’s like you can beat your opponent, but do it with respect.
That habitual line stepping in the cage may be one of the reasons that some fans are rooting for Chris Weidman, while also rooting against Silva as their July 6 date inside the Octagon at UFC 162 nears.
I guess the lesson is that there’s a fine line between showman and show-off, and when that line gets crossed, expect repercussions.