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On This Day in MMA History…June 28

(Rich Franklin looks at this poster to cure his hiccups)

Anderson Silva puts the UFC’s middleweight class on notice 5 years ago at UFN 5

(Video courtesy of Thisis50/TonyScorpio)

Why it matters:
For those who didn’t know who Anderson Silva was prior to his UFC debut against Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5 back on June 28, 2006, they knew who he was after the fight. Silva was the slight favorite to win the bout (at – 170 to Leben’s +200), but if oddsmakers knew then what we know now, they would be kicking themselves for giving Leben a shot in hell at beating “The Spider.” It took Silva just 49 seconds to dismantle the previously thought un-KO’able TUF 1 veteran whose head was (and is) often described in the same vein as a fire hydrant. Those in the know from witnessing Silva leave a pile of PRIDE and Cage Rage opponents in his wake were not surprised that he beat “The Crippler,” but rather how quickly he did it and the devastating fashion he did it in.

Leben still wakes some nights in a cold sweat, screaming, from the recurring nightmare of Silva turning him into a human bobble-head with his pinpoint jabs.

One fight later Silva would win the UFC middleweight title by decimating Rich Franklin in under three minutes and finished each of his next five opponents inside the first two rounds. When Patrick Cote made it into the third with the dominant champ, it was seen as a major accomplishment but when a pair of Silva’s title bouts (against Thales Leites and Demian Maia) went the distance, UFC president Dana White was quick to blast the Brazilian for not fighting like Anderson Silva. To put into perspective how good Silva has been in The Octagon, in 13 UFC fights, he has spent an average of 7.83 minutes fighting and has finished all of his opponents but Maia and Leites for an 85% finishing rate.

SPIKE TV announced it would begin production of  ’The Ultimate Fighter‘ 7 years ago

Why it matters:
Most analysts believe that the mainstream push TUF provided is what brought the UFC back from the brink of bankruptcy and made fighters like Chris Leben, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin household names across the world. The series, which began filming the following January would become the most popular shows on the fledgling men’s specialty channel. The “what-ifs” that we could ask ourselves about the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship that was forged between SPIKE and the UFC, thanks to the hugely successful show, had it never materialized could be similar to those we now ask about fringe fads like Crystal Pepsi, laser disc players and hypercolor shirts. Without TUF, the UFC could be just a footnote in combat sport history like X-Arm, Yamma Pit Fighting or San-Do.

Fayetteville, North Carolina fighter
(Video courtesy of YouTube/Rob1GZ)

Why it matters:
Kirkham lost that amateur fight in Columbia, South Carolina on April 24 via TKO in spite of his opponent landing a glut of his ground and pound shots to the back of his head. He was given an automatic 30-day medical suspension for the TKO loss, but didn’t follow up with a physician because of the cost of medical care. Two days after the suspension was lifted the 30-year-old, 6′ 9″, 155-pound fighter suffered a brain hemorrhage in his pro debut at the University of South Carolina Aiken Convocation Center and died two days later as a result of his accumulative injuries.

Post-mortem findings showed that the hemorrhage could have been avoided by an MRI scan, which would have detected the pre-existing condition he likely sustained from his last bout. The scan, which would have cost approximately $1000 is a mandatory requirement of most athletic commissions, like the Ontario Athletic Commission, who caught a similar issue in Brian Foster‘s pre-UFC 129 test that prevented the UFC welterweight from competing on the card. The same test also revealed a brain abnormality in Thiago Alves prior to his UFC 11 bout. In both cases, the implications of not finding the issue could have been fatal as it was with Kirkham.

The incident prompted several commissions to increase the stringency of their medical testing requirements of both professional and amateur fighters, thus making the sport safer in their jurisdictions, which is good for everyone.

Cagepotato Comments

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wereab- June 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm
--Something unexpected surprise--

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The Highest Primate- June 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm
$1000 FOR AN MRI SCAN???????
man it sucks to get sick or need any kind of medical treatment in America.. what a bunch of greedy cunts.
nesbitt- June 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm
kirkham didnt lose by TKO in spite of the blows to the back of the head. in spite of blows to the back of the head, he didnt get a NC, or DQ victory.
also, i highly doubt eh guy as a 6 foot 9 '55er.
Smackdaddiest1- June 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Considering Leben only had 1 loss going into this and 90% of MMA fans didn't know who the hell Anderson Silva was it was damn impressive for him to dismantle Chris that way.
macreadysshack- June 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm
@munche You make valid points and I admit that Silva wasn't on my radar at the time - I watched his older fights later on. My POV is all in retrospect so it's not 100% credible. Still, I think it's safe to say that Leben wasn't likely to sub him and I DO think it should've been obvious that Silva's striking was on a different level than Leben's. Maybe that makes the odds fairly accurate then.
munche- June 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm
The two subs to Daiju Takase and Ryo Chonan were guys that are majorly embarrassing losses. Hell Takase has a losing record overall (and had one going into that fight). The Okami fight was a DQ, and it was basically nothing happening for a few minutes, Okami takedown, Silva DQ with upkick. Wasn't like he looked great in it.

I was actively following at the time and most people knew Anderson Silva mostly for being one of the lesser guys that came out of Chute Boxe (and was thrown out in some sort of spat!)
macreadysshack- June 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

'several' embarrassing losses? In my opinion he didn't lose to Okami and it certainly wasn't 'embarrassing'. That leaves three losses. One of em was a freaky lightening ankle lock. Not embarrassing in the least. That leaves two losses. Is that several? How were they embarrassing? He made Lightening Lee Murray look slow and plodding.

I'm going with CP on this one. The odds didn't accurately reflect Silva at the time.
El Guapo- June 28, 2011 at 11:23 am
Get 'em Crippler! Show Spider how we do it in 'Merica(fuck yeaaah!)and send him back to Japa... Neeeeevermind. Fight's over.
munche- June 28, 2011 at 11:12 am
"if oddsmakers knew then what we know now, they would be kicking themselves for giving Leben a shot in hell at beating “The Spider.”"

For the time, the odds were pretty accurate. Obviously Anderson has looked much better recently, but at the time he was a middling fighter who had several embarrassing losses and a few non-impressive victories. Obviously his training has improved and his skillset has immensely improved, but before he came to the UFC his career wasn't really more impressive than the guys he was fighting at the time (like Lee Murray and Jeremy Horn)
NOTSOB- June 28, 2011 at 10:55 am
anderson silva - 5'11''
ufc sucks at body stats, ive seen so many other mistakes like this on other fighters.
theStew- June 28, 2011 at 10:48 am
Who taught you guys how to read betting odds? First.