UFC 101: Chopping Down The Forrest

Scott YagerContributor IAugust 11, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Anderson Silva battles  Forrest Griffin during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

There isn’t much to say about Saturday night's UFC 101 PPV that hasn’t already been said. Did we really learn anything knew? Was Anderson Silva’s performance anything unexpected?

Looking at it in terms of Silva and what he needed to accomplish with this fight, the outcome could not have been more perfect.

Silva had built up a reputation for playing fights too safe. With his last few fights lacking the same sort of high octane energy that his first few possessed, Silva was beginning to anger fans more than impress them.

On Saturday night, Anderson Silva reinvented his image.

He gave fans a new fresh memory to recall in their minds when pondering who the best middleweight and light heavyweight fighters are. It only takes a few overwhelming performances to create a career out of a marketable UFC fighter.

For a guy like Anderson Silva, it did not take long for him to become known simply as the best. This superlative is not enough however to remain on top in the minds of the UFC following, and more so, the casual following of the sport, because eventually all highlights get old.

A fighter cannot keep fans captivated without reassuring them that along with being a world class athlete, they are also an exciting entertainer who exceeds expectations when put under the spotlight.

With all that MMA has become, with the entrances and the well produced video montages, fighters must consistently be able to top what is shown in their highlight reel.
UFC gets away with showing the same few moments over and over again. With great editing and intense entrance music, fans pretty much overlook the fact that UFC will cling to five or six climactic moments from past fights, and turn them into a story that is supposed to make you want to buy the next PPV.

This is under the assumption that this PPV is sure to create another special moment, one that will looked back on before future fights, and one that is not to be missed when it happens live.

Knowing this needed to happen to Silva, UFC chose the perfect opponent to face the fighter in his make or break performance, Mr. Forrest Griffin.

Griffin has won fights against guys like Quintin Jackson, who were sure favorites beforehand, but let’s be honest; Dana had to know that if Silva was going to win this fight, it was going to be in impressive fashion.

He probably felt it was a win/win situation, where either Silva’s status as a dominating monster would be held in tact, or in the near impossible scenario where Griffin won the fight.

Griffin is the fighter that represents the UFC, "The Ultimate Fighter," and the general concept that great American fighters can be made from within.

Not all win/win situations are as cut and dry as they originally seem.

There is no way anyone could have envisioned Griffin getting embarrassed to the level he was on Saturday night.

Between the scared look in his eyes, the nonchalant nature of Silva’s attack, and the pathetic way Griffin ran away before being formerly declared the loser, it might be safe to say that the persona UFC had worked so hard to create for Forrest Griffin is ruined.

He was the guy who simply worked, trained and tried harder than everyone else. The poster boy for UFC would surely have not been put on the cover of their new video game had this fight taken place first.

The so called “win/win” situation was far from it. Although Silva’s career looks like it can go nowhere but up, the UFC itself, took a major blow due to the outcome of this super fight.

Now hearing that Anderson Silva might be too close to his sparring partner Lyoto Machida to want to fight for his belt at 205, it might even be appropriate to say that this Saturday’s fight was the clear cut low point in a year that otherwise has been incredibly encouraging for UFC.