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The Dethroning of Anderson Silva: Greek Tragedy, Conspiracy Theories, and Chris Weidman

(Yes, he knows. But will he ever tell us? Pic Props: Esther Lin for MMAFighting)

By Jason Moles

Last week, I had you play a word association game regarding a few UFC’s champions. For Georges St. Pierre and Jon Jones, I suggested the first word to pop into your head was “boring” and “spurious” respectively. However, when Anderson Silva‘s name came up, I said the word that would first break into your consciousness was “greatness.” Now that I think about it a little more, “hubris” may have taken its place, especially after Silva’s impetuous performance against Chris Weidman during UFC 162‘s main event. You hear the word hubris and almost immediately conjure the scene of Silva clowning Weidman and subsequently getting throttled for it. A ballet of mockery gone awry.

That sequence of events will forever be etched in the memory of MMA fans around the world and, for fans of Greek Mythology, it calls to mind the story of Icarus. As legend has it, Icarus’ father, Daedalus, constructed wings out of feathers and wax for the two of them in hopes of making a jailbreak. The woefully ignorant Icarus, full of hubris, instantly fell in love with flying (something only the gods were able to do), ignored his father’s warning about getting too close to the sun or flying near the sea, and soared as high as his makeshift wings would take him. Tragically, they would take him close enough to the sun that the wax melted, leaving our youthful protagonist flapping his arms in vain. Next thing you know, the falling Athenian crashes into the sea and drowns.


Here we are a few days removed and no one is really sure what to make of the events that transpired at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. To accurately figure out what happened in Vegas over the holiday weekend we should, perhaps, start by identifying what didn’t.

Late Saturday night, the world picked its collective jaw up from off the floor and tried to process what had just transpired in the Octagon. Could they have really seen what they thought they saw? Moments later, Bruce Buffer confirmed that we had, as only he can — “Aaaaannnd new…!!!” The consensus pound-for-pound greatest of all time, Anderson Silva, had been knocked off the middleweight throne in spectacularly brutal fashion.

Before Joe Rogan removed his headset to make his way into the Octagon for his usual post-fight interview, conspiracy theorists took to social media to call into question the official narrative of the mainstream media. A quick glance at Twitter immediately after the main event revealed that sports fans (myself included) are often prisoners of the moment, blind with emotion, or drunk at 12:30 AM.

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the days since, you’ve heard that Silva threw the fight to set up a lucrative rematch later on down the road, possibly during Super Bowl weekend 2014. You’ve also heard that after 16 years of earning a living cracking skulls in front of thousands of bloodthirsty fans he wanted to retire, and the easiest way he knew how was to put Chris Weidman over and pass the torch. Ideally, this would prevent UFC President Dana White from antagonizing him in the media in an attempt to capitalize on his mystique and drawing power. Let me reassure you…that didn’t happen. Silva didn’t lay down for anyone.

Had the fix been in, as was also suspected in more than a few fights over the years, it would have been more convenient and less humiliating for Silva to have tapped once Weidman applied the leg lock. If a retirement was at the forefront of his mind (Hint: It wasn’t — he still plans on fulfilling his 10-fight contract) simply doing what we all know he is capable of, getting one final ‘W’, and walking off into the sunset the undisputed G.O.A.T. is obviously preferable to potentially besmirching his legacy.

Yet another popular theory surrounding “The Spider’s” charades is that of boredom. Yes, it is believed by some that, out of boredom with fighting (or perceived lack of challenge in his opponent), the UFC middleweight champion needed to up the ante just to keep himself motivated to step into the cage again. By continually dropping his defenses, the runway was lit and waiting for all incoming fists. That in and of itself would’ve been enough of an obstacle for a guy squaring off against such a heavy hitter — but not Silva. He needed to stack the deck against himself even further by showboating around the Octagon.

When you fight like that against Stephan Bonnar, fans get it — you’re not concerned with his ability to shake your hand too hard, let alone erase your consciousness. Do it against an undefeated, two time Division I All-American wrestler with the power to make your eyes roll in the back of your head with the swing of a fist, and expect people to question your game plan. But this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen this out of Silva. Remember UFC 90, 97, 112, or 153? Each of these events are chapters in Silva’s book, The Art of War Clowning, and even more reason not to be surprised at his in-cage antics. Another myth busted. None of the conspiracy theories hold any water if you take more than three minutes to think before you reach your conclusion.


So, what exactly did happen that night? If the champion didn’t throw the fight and he didn’t act any more absurd than in the past, how could this have happened?

Have you considered giving Chris Weidman any credit at all for doing what no one else before him could? Admittedly, I hadn’t until sometime Monday afternoon. At one point I used the words “gift wrapped” when discussing the title changing hands as a result of Silva’s performance against such a dangerous fighter. Like many other MMA pundits, I too was a prisoner of the moment. Now that the dust has settled, it’s painfully clear that the New York native is deserving of more credit for a victory that was far more calculated than it was fortuitous. Either that or Silva was caught flying too close to the sun.

Cagepotato Comments

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Hutch- July 10, 2013 at 10:51 am
@12oz I bet all the donuts. No way GSP even attempts to finish after watching Anderson's "gameplan" end the way it did.
The12ozCurls- July 10, 2013 at 11:06 am
God Dammit Hutch.
Why you always gotta bust my GSP-lovin' balls?
Hutch- July 10, 2013 at 11:13 am
Yeah, I don't have alot going on. It gets me through the day.
Mr_Misanthropy- July 10, 2013 at 10:27 am
Even Hitler's unstoppable Nazi war machine was eventually destroyed when he spread his resources too thin. Damn you operation Barbarossa!
LoneWolf- July 10, 2013 at 9:42 am
Too close, way too close...
danomite- July 10, 2013 at 9:00 am
You know, Fedor was once considered the GOAT by pretty much everyone. Then he lost 3 in a row and now nobody even mentions him. It's like he never existed. After Weidman wins the rematch, that'll be two losses in a row for ol' Andy and all this GOAT talk will start to fade very quickly. That's the problem with labelling somebody the 'Greatest of All Time' before their career is over. They can still lose.

Also, everyone knows Icarus' wings were made of Pastrami.
the glza- July 10, 2013 at 8:40 am
The simplest explanation is that silva tested each of his challengers' mettle by clowning. The only one who showed he was not intimidated, not fazed, and able to perform under the intense pressure of not only fighting the GOAT, but being called out and punked on the greatest stage he's ever fought in. It takes a true champion to fight through that emotion, keep your composure, and impose your will under such circumstances. Weidman proved a worthy successor.
Fried Taco- July 10, 2013 at 8:30 am
Silva got taken down and hit with some hard ground-n-pound. So he employed his usual strategy of taunting to try and keep it on the feet, where he thought he had the advantage. He got beat by someone who trained to fight him. No conspiracy, no anything but someone with a stupid game plan getting beat by someone who executed his game plan perfectly.
jasonmoles- July 10, 2013 at 8:19 am MMA Media Picks for UFC 162 main event: Anderson Silva: 10, Chris Weidman: 0
pattonlb7- July 10, 2013 at 8:07 am
Clowning on Cote, Maia, Leites, and Bonnar is different than clowning on a true contender. No champion, him included got the belt by employing a bullshit leave your hands down, leave your chin up strategy. Its not bad because its disrespectful or cocky its bad because its a poor strategy and unwise to underestimating your opponents.
rytek- July 10, 2013 at 8:07 am

Dude was fighting all out in his typical style. This was not Silva thinking he was awesome, his dancing around like an asshat is his technique to get his opponent to balk. Instead he got KTFO.

As someone on here has already said, if he knocked out Weidman he would have been called a "genius", yet he gets knocked out pulling moves that he has used for 5+ years and its some Roswell conspiracy. Jesus people blow Silva, Lebron, and a bunch of other "greats".
blackboxmma- July 10, 2013 at 8:06 am
If Silva fought the way he fought against Rich Franklin, Weidman is also getting a new nose. He doesn't have the intensity or interest in hurting people anymore. Call it what you want.
The12ozCurls- July 10, 2013 at 8:05 am
Let's get one thing perfectly clear:
Georges St. Pierre was 100% correct . . . . as always.
rytek- July 10, 2013 at 8:08 am
@12oz Lets get one thing perfectly clear:
Georges St. Pierre's next fight will be boring and decided by judges.
The12ozCurls- July 10, 2013 at 9:21 am
Welcome to CP rytek.
Nice mirrored sunglasses douchebag.
And why the thumbs down vote on my comment? GSP predicted Weidman would finish Silva. Right?
Now, get the fuck off my lawn!
rytek- July 10, 2013 at 10:04 am
1) Actually i just thumbs-upped you. Somebody else must have been hating.
B) I pride myself in being a douche
3 or 4) I stand by the fact that GSP's next fight will go to the judges even though I think he is a phenom.
The12ozCurls- July 10, 2013 at 10:25 am
I accept your apology. And I will bet dollars to donuts that GSP finishes Johny Hendricks. Did you see how gassed Hendricks appeared after 3 rounds with Condit even though he spent a good deal of time laying in the top position? I think Bigg Rigg gets taken down, doesn't like GSP's GNP, gives up his back & gets choked out. Just sayin' -
Now - STOP buying your shades at the gas station. I mean, I'm sure the ladies flock to them like flies to shit but, they are nearly as douchey as WHITE sunglasses. You're welcome.
whiterice- July 10, 2013 at 7:51 am
I've seen more pieces deriding the idea Silva took a dive, than I've seen people claiming he did. What people impulsively post on Twitter doesn't need this much counterpoint! If MMAFighting or any other serious outlet said Silve took a dive, then fine, argue away. This fees like arguing to argue.

How about just this: Weidman had so much hype on his side that it actually got into Silva's head?
knucklesamitch- July 10, 2013 at 8:10 am

I tend to agree ... A lot of the MMA community (not fans, they don't count) were picking Weidman, or at least giving him more of a chance than anyone before him. I think Silva got taken down, escaped the sub attempts then decided, "You know what ... I'm going to clown this guy and show everyone that he doesn't belong in the octagon with me, just like everyone else I've faced over the last few years." Unfortunately for him, he clowned the wrong guy, someone who for weeks now has said that he was fighting a man, not a aura or legend of a man ... And he stood in the pocket and turned off Silva's lights as soon as he saw his chance.
OPIO- July 10, 2013 at 7:44 am
Oh, and even if Silva did fight with his hands up, he still would've gotten taken down and beaten or submitted. Which is exactly what's going to happen in their rematch...
OPIO- July 10, 2013 at 7:42 am
Why the fuck is anyone still surprised? These articles are so redundant. If I recall almost every major MMA persona predicted that Weidman would take it. So how the fuck are people shocked that he actually did. Silva wasn't tired/bored or underestimating Weidman. He came there to win 100% and got caught 100%. Get over it already.
dranokills- July 10, 2013 at 7:39 am
I do not have any problem understanding the fight or its results. Silva is a fucking clown, and he got his clown ass knocked out. No conspiracy, no confusion. Weidman beat his ass, and I loved it...still do. Time has not diminished it. All the Silva ass kissers can bemoan their life and try to make something of it, and whine like cunts all they want. The assclown known as Spider is no longer the champ, sooner you nuthugging idiots get that, the sooner you can move on.
blackboxmma- July 10, 2013 at 7:36 am