Bruce Buffer may be the last sure thing left in the UFC. Here’s footage of him introducing Anderson Silva at UFC 97 and making it into an event all its own. Check out the hops on the Buff. Who knew? It used to be that Silva was guaranteed to give you your money’s worth. With him not wanting to "risk" his belt, those days may be over. At least Buffer still knows how to deliver.
After the jump, Ken Shamrock prepares to make his UFC comeback against an opponent who’s just his style.
(When he told her it was time to retire and give up the game for good, a tearful Paris Hilton told Dana: "But I am the game!" Only then did he fully understand the devils of fame and the ransom they demand. True story.)
- UFC president Dana White talked with Inside Fighting about the disappointing main event at UFC 97, and he also reiterated his commitment to keeping Chuck Liddell firmly in retirement, saying, “Believe me, it will be a fucking war if he tries not to retire, believe me.” When pressed on other rapidly aging fighters who might need to be nudged into retirement, White admitted that Wanderlei Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira “are right there too and yes, I will pull the trigger on them too.” Dear God, he’s not going to kill them, is he?!
- A crazy rumor on the information superhighway says that Fedor Emelianenko and Shinya Aoki will square off against each other in a special grappling match at the “Deep M-1 Challenge 3rd Edition” in Japan on April 29th. I’ll pause a moment and let that one sink in. If true this would be completely insane, but to deny that we would totally want to see it would be to deny the very curiosity of the spirit that makes us human, and we aren’t about to do that.
Since Anderson Silva doesn’t seem terribly interested in defending his UFC 97 performance against critics, and because his lack of English skills makes that difficult anyway, his manager, Ed Soares, has been doing it for him. Soares said in a recent interview that he didn’t think Silva’s fight with Leites was “a bad fight,” and even partially blamed the UFC for putting a “one-dimensional” fighter against the champ. He also made the case for Silva’s dominance by pointing out the lack of damage he took in the fight:
"After watching the fight on TV, I thought [Silva] fought a good fight. He didn’t finish him, but I thought he fought a good fight. Technically, I really didn’t see anything wrong with the way he fought. Who goes in there and fights five rounds with somebody and doesn’t even have a mark on his face? Not too many people can do that."
"I don’t know. People have to look at it that way instead of always thinking that Anderson is going to go in there and knock people out or submit them really quick. It just doesn’t happen sometimes."
Soares is right. It is unrealistic to think that even Silva is going to finish everyone in spectacular fashion, especially if he’s facing an opponent who doesn’t want to engage with him. But that’s only part of the problem.
"I felt so bad for him to see him go out like that. He is a great person and a legend and when you see that as a fighter, you get a small glimpse of your own demise in the sport. At one point, he was unstoppable, but I guess the saying is true, ‘Nothing stays gold forever’."
"There were no changes [in Liddell's style and preparation]. I knew that before the fight because an inside source told me that it was just a front. It’s too late for him. His reactions and ability to take punishment is gone and you could never get that back…He deteriorated so fast, it’s not even funny. Just a season ago he was on his way back after his win over Wandy and now, it’s over. You have to wonder if he is on the border of a medical problem."
I’ll refrain from making any young lion/old lion analogies, but yes, we’ve finally seen the last gasp of the Tito/Randy/Chuck era of the UFC, and it’ll be a somber week for some MMA fans. The new generation has taken over in full force, led by fighters like Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, GSP, and Brock Lesnar. And maybe one of these days, Jon Jones is going to spinning-backfist Rashad Evans into a living death, and we’ll start talking about how great Sugar used to be until he started slowing down just enough for younger guys to pick him apart. It’s the circle of life. Still, this claim that Liddell was just frontin’ about working on the holes in his standup game? Well damn, dude. If you hope to hang with fighters who are more than ten years younger than you, you have to put in the work. The UFC front office doesn’t need any loafers.
(A tough night in so many different ways. Photo courtesy of SI.com)
Even our supercomputer had trouble dealing with the data from a bizarre main event at UFC 97. We had to hit it with a broomstick a couple times just to keep it chugging. Not a great Saturday night for the UFC, but at least it’s over now. Let’s see who’s up and who’s down. Anderson Silva -129 Against Cote, the computer was willing to cut him some slack based on past performances. But two lackluster showings in a row, followed by an inability or unwillingness to comprehend why fans might have been unsatisfied, that equals a big drop. Is this the Silva we can look forward to from now on? Thales Leites -176 You get the opportunity of your lifetime and spend most of it flopping onto your back? We think you’re going to regret that decision. How Leites thought this strategy might yield a victory is a real mystery. What the UFC can do with him now is another.
Anderson Silva may not have had a problem with his performance at UFC 97, but Dana White wasn’t impressed, to put it mildly. Following Saturday’s excruciating main event, White sat down for an interview with Steve Cofield which quickly turned into an MMA version of Stewart/Cramer, with Cofield railing at the UFC prez for Silva‘s disrespectful showing, and White sheepishly taking the abuse. "I’m trying to wrap brain around this thing and figure this out, and I just cannot," White said. "I was seriously sitting in my seat going, ‘No, no this is not happening again’…I swear to God I wanted to leave tonight."
Later in the interview, White re-states that Chuck Liddell is done fighting — for the UFC, or any other organization: "Yeah, he’s a big name, we could sell out arenas with him, we could still sell pay-per-views with him, but I don’t want to see that."
I don’t know about you guys, but where I come from we refer to the above behavior as "screwing around." Clearly Thales Leites didn’t show up with the intention of bringing the fight to Silva last night, so he shares some of the blame for the most unsatisfying main event since, well, Silva vs. Cote. But when Silva starts fighting like a sixth grade bully, more intent on making you look stupid than on actually hurting you, it’s hard to argue that he performed like a champ.
Leites may have flopped around on the mat for five rounds, but what did any of us really expect from him? Silva, on the other hand, is supposed to be the holy terror of the UFC. We’re all very impressed at the cool stuff he can pull off during a fight, but we’re way more impressed when one of those cool things is knocking people out.
Anderson Silva seems to be getting too used to disappointing fans. Check the look on his face when a reporter takes him to task for not doing more to try and finish Thales Leites. He seems more bored than anything else. His manager and Chuck Liddell both get angry for him, but it’s as if Silva himself can’t be bothered with it.
Dana White will continue to defend Silva’s status as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, and he has a lot of good points, particularly about Fedor being “at a buffet in Russia,” and not at all interested in proving himself against the best in the world. But at the same time, if the world’s best fighter can’t entertain anybody but himself, what’s the point?
This is the second straight time Silva has left us bored and confused with his performance. He’s so concerned with fighting a “perfect” fight, he doesn’t care whether anyone actually wants to see it. That’s a problem. The UFC set a North American attendance record with 21,451 people packed into the Bell Centre last night, and yet the organization’s best fighter may have spent five rounds proving to the audience in the venue and at home that he isn’t concerned in the least with giving them their money’s worth.
(Young kid named Thales goes to jail for the first time, and gets thrown in a cell with a mean-looking dude named Anderson. Anderson says to Thales, "so do you want to be the mommy or the daddy?" Figuring he doesn’t have much choice, Thales says "the daddy." To which Anderson replies, "good, now come over here and suck mommy’s dick." True story. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)
Let’s get ready to REDEEEEEEEEEM OURSELLLLLLVES! The Thunderdome has returned to Montreal’s Bell Centre, and the stakes are high. Can Anderson Silva make it a historic nine Octagon wins in a row? Who keeps their top-ten 205′er status in the Liddell/Rua fight, and who completes their dramatic flame-out? And…ah…who else is on this card again? Live round-by-round updates and commentary await you after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes to get all the latest.