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UFC 117 Aftermath: Anderson Silva Earns an Extra $120K for Getting His Ass Handed to Him for 23 Minutes


(The world’s "top pound-for-pound fighter" in the midst of proving his greatness at UFC 117. PicPops: Esther Lin/Fanhouse)

Whatever “demon effigy” Anderson Silva and Ed Soares really do worship, he certainly turned out to be the better God on Saturday night. If nothing else, Silva’s prayers were answered at UFC 117 when his Hail Mary triangle choke somehow found the mark around Chael Sonnen’s neck with a minute, 50 seconds left in a fight the challenger had dominated for four complete rounds. Sonnen kind of tapped, referee Josh Rosenthal kind of stopped the fight and Silva kind of proved he is still the best 185-pound fighter in the world. So much for the vengeful Christian God that Republican wrestlers from Oregon prance and dance in front of, we guess.

There will no doubt be more than a couple breathless accounts of Silva’s “miraculous comeback” in the MMA media during the next few days, but let’s make no mistake here: Anderson Silva’s greatness was not on display Saturday night. In fact, if the UFC’s so-called “performance-based bonuses” are actually in any way based on performance, Big DW should take that $120,000 he evenly split between the two main eventers for “Fight of the Night” and give about $90,000 of it to Sonnen. Because really, only one guy had the “fight of the night” at UFC 117. The other guy just sort of got lucky.


Instead, it was Silva who walked away from last night’s presser with $120K in total bonus money after his Doug Flutie moment also netted him the “Submission of the Night” award. The champ shared that honor with Matt Hughes, who prior to the end of the main event seemed to have the prize for the night’s most surprising sub locked up for himself. How Silva managed to have just about every hole in his game thoroughly revealed and exploited and still walk away with not one, but two bonus checks, we’ll never know. Chalk it up to another part of his “legendary” night, we suppose.

Yesterday, we published what seemed at the time like an overly optimistic hypothesis that Sonnen had a chance to beat Silva if he could fight a perfect fight. Honestly, we didn’t think for a second the guy would come so close to actually doing it. But there was Sonnen last night, not just beating Silva, but downright outclassing the man many regard as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter for 20-plus minutes. In the process, Sonnen inspired some pretty uncomfortable feelings deep down in our brains’ hearts: We actually felt good for the guy, excited for him and when it was over we felt a great deal of empathy for him. As of about 7 p.m. last night, we wouldn’t have thought any of that possible.

The reason Sonnen’s performance was so stirring was not just because he appeared to be doing exactly what he said he was going to do in the fight – “dump Silva on his prissy ass and beat a hole in his face” – but also because it was a kind of bout we’ve never seen Silva in before. In the past, the middleweight champ has been criticized for being unmotivated, for being ill prepared and for showing a concerted lack of urgency in the cage. That’s not at all what happened at UFC 117. At UFC 117, Sonnen and Silva both showed up and tried their hardest and guess what? For nearly the entire fight, Sonnen was the better man.

In the end though, the Oregon wrestler did as the Oregon wrestler usually does. He got tapped out. Taking people down and letting them catch him in subs is basically the story of Chael Sonnen’s career. Eight of his 11 total losses have now come by some form of arm bar or choke. We’d say that’s a fair enough sample size to conclusively prove that Sonnen has a submission problem. Shoring that up might be something he’ll want to check out.

It also would not be totally accurate to say Sonnen “backed up” much of his prefight trash talk with his performance, since most of his promotional blather had nothing to do with fighting or with reality. No, the true greatness of Sonnen’s domination of Silva was that for those 23 minutes he managed to divorce himself from the Bobby “The Brain” Heenan character he’d been playing for the past few months and, just, fight. He fought his ass off.  He fought the fight of his life which, when it was all over, wasn’t quite good enough to steal the UFC middleweight title.

We’d love to sit here and tell you that our lasting memory of Sonnen will be of the shockingly contrite and humble guy we saw in the cage and at the press conference following the loss. The guy who said he was “devastated” and heartbroken over the defeat. Unfortunately, we know that’s not the case. Give Sonnen a day or two to turn this one over in his mind and he’ll probably decide he never tapped out. He could decide that his loss was the result of a vast conspiracy against him. Hell, he might even decide that wasn’t even him in the cage at UFC 117.

Whatever happens, we sincerely hope we can all refrain from spazzing out about how great Anderson Silva’s “comeback” was last night. We hope we can give Sonnen the credit (and some of the disdain because, seriously dude, another triangle?) he deserves. If we can’t, well, maybe Chael Sonnen was right about us all along. Maybe we really are just a bunch of Anderson Silva marks.

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Dagnut- August 10, 2010 at 4:42 am
You could escape that armbar/choke? Was Fedor "unlucky" to get caught in it?
Of course there is skill....Silva didn't get lucky with the triangle he got lucky that Sonnen didn't ride the last few minutes out on his feet.
dranokills- August 9, 2010 at 8:35 pm
work with me here......
LUCK!
learn it, live it...love it.
you can rationalize, and compare it anything , and you can call it what it was, a win, but it was fucking LUCKY. get over it. Anderson won, and he was goddamn lucky to have done so.
That is the word that describes it, not skill, not jedi mind tricks, not anything else, he was fucking lucky, and HE knows it.
Yes Chael tapped, LUCKILY for Anderson Chael didn't know how to get out of that. so you can bank on the fact that LUCK played into that win.
call it what you want but the word you are really looking for is ......
LUCK!
Chuck_W- August 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm
Shogun lost by a Bullshit decision made by the Shit Athletic Commission Judges...That's why people believed Shogun was the real champ.

Anderson secured a submission on a guy who was dominating the fight for 23 mins but couldn't finish the fight....and Chael TAPPED OUT!!! That was a definitive loss because he didn't want his arm snapped in half. Luck has nothing to do with it. Two skilled fighters got in the ring...One finished the fight and left with the belt.
dranokills- August 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm
pppssssssstttt, hey you....yeah you...dumbass......
Anderson got......LUCKY.

Live with it, cause everyone including Anderson knows he got...LUCKY.

So wake up, the pound for pound best is not Anderson, a crazy fuck just used him, and wasn't smart enough to avoid being caught by lucky boy, it is what it is.
At the end of the night Silva needed to pull something lucky out of his ass, and it wasn't professorMMA, or Mofo's tongue, it was a triangle, and it saved him a real embarrassing lose on his record, and by doing so he still lost, and Chael won. just like when shogun beat machida's ass and lost...he still won really, everyone recognized who the better of the 2 really was, and no belt changed that.
Maybe next time like shogun chael will knock Anderson out, then all you swingers will find a new nut to climb.
Litos- August 9, 2010 at 8:26 am
lol really now, to say someone got "lucky" or that their submission victory was "miraculous" is disrespectful to BJJ. He has trained BJJ for a very long time, and trains with 2 of the best BJJ guys in the sport (the Nogueira brothers) ..."lucky"? Get the f*** out of here!
fatbellyfrank- August 9, 2010 at 7:09 am
@ Bossnasty, amen to that my friend, summed it up nicely ( you should do some articles here), as mentioned in some other post, Sonnen hit him 289 times, should have been pieces of skull breaking off after that many blows
BossNasty- August 9, 2010 at 6:43 am
I don't know if I could go so far as to say Silva got his ass whooped those four rounds. He definitely got completely handled, but for him to take all those little short rabbit punches and end the fight with not so much as a scratch. It's hard to call that an outright ass whoopin. For as much as Sonnen did and I admit he was on his way to being the champ no if, ands, or buts, I would expect Silva's face to show of the war he was just in. To call Silva lucky I think is a strech also. He's a black belt in bjj, and of the 3 or 4 submission attempts he made he threw that on Sonnen pretty quick and convincingly. It wasn't like he was on his back just fishing for a submission. The attempts he made were well timed and it really would only be a matter of time especially in a 5 round fight that if you're not hurting your opponent and fighting from in his guard that you would get caught with a submission. It can happen to great fighters and Sonnen is no exeption. That said Sonnen did a hell of a job, but Silva is still the Champ
revengejarhead- August 9, 2010 at 6:34 am
Sonnen did his job and kicked Silvas ass for nearly 5 rounds, and suspiously the champ, still retained his title. Sonnen punished Silva and had an opportunity to be the champ pretty early into the fifth round via arm triangle, he had the position and had it sunk in but what did he do, he climbed back on top of silva and gave it up Sonnnen could have tapped out Silva Why, maybe Sonnen was only task was to punish Silva. Conspiracy theory. Makes no sense, who else noticed?
fatbellyfrank- August 9, 2010 at 6:30 am
^ Yea this loss is gonna have Sonnen rocken back and forth,curled up in a foetal position, just talking himself through what he should have done..........and knowing, deep in his heart, he just fucked up possibly the greatest opportunity of his life, MMA career wise
rangerrexxx- August 9, 2010 at 6:13 am
This loss will dog Sonnen for the rest of his life. To have that kind of a domineering performance SQUASHED in the last two min. of the fight... It will be hard NOT to think about it. Silve IS the best pound for pound fighter in the world @ this point and time because he pulled what would have definitely been the end of his Champion reign, into yet another victory! I'd like to see a rematch down the line!
ytrebil- August 9, 2010 at 6:05 am
There is no doubt that Sonnen looked a million times better than he has done in previous fights. He actually looked like he could have finished Silva a few times – managed to get close and land some great shots. His tank was really good and tbh I would be surprised if anyone here still thought Anderson was going to win when Sonnen put him on his back again in the 5th.

However, lets not forget Sonnen is a complete and utter pr!ck. He lies, talks rubbish and tries to cheat. That fake tap stuff at the end was disgusting of him. He knew what he was doing and if I was Silva in the heat of the moment I would have tried to break his damn arm in half – looked like he was setting up for an arm bar anyway.

Come on though… you’ve dominated for almost 25 minutes, get caught in a triangle choke (so it’s not like you’re going to have something broken) I’m sorry but no way would I tap to that. You’d rather go to sleep and hope to hell that some how the choke slips. He tapped pretty quickly and he was actually moving for position at a similar time to tapping. Strange call by Sonnen but it did look like he bitched out ha.
Dagnut- August 9, 2010 at 2:55 am
Am I the only one who remembers the Luter fight? He was close to losing that fight as well..but guess what he won...by triangle.
Your Dumb- August 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm
Geez, this one is just as bad as the article written after Carwin vs Lesnar.

Saying Silva just got "lucky" is so ignorantly stupid. Nate Marquardt probably called this exactly how it played out. He said Sonnen could dominate with his ground and pound and could win if he could avoid getting triangled. He credited Silva with having a good triangle.

Sonnen fought an awesome fight last night. He deserves an A for the way he mopped the Octagon floor with Anderson Silva. We saw Anderson Silva getting dominated in a way that we'd never seen before. Yet despite it all, he still managed to find the single opportunity available to remain champion. He is not invincible... but he is champion.
fatbellyfrank- August 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm
Also, we all seem to have overlooked the biggest highlight of yesterdays event, Clay Guida's burp of the night, that was fucken classic
fatbellyfrank- August 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm
Just had to let em know Almost and BE is................> thataway
Almost North- August 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm
Haha for anyone who doesn't agree with frank here:

fatbellyfrank- August 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm
I would just like to add, all the fighters that I like are really cool. All the fighters I dont like are one dimensional boring and they suck.
All the articles I like are really cool, all the articles I dont like suck, and have been contributed by retarts.
All the comments that I find funny are fucken hilarious, all the comments I dont find funny are really stupid, written by retarts, newbs or trolls and they all suck.

Yes I know this section is designed for everyone to post THEIR OWN COMMENTS AND OPINIONS, but it had better agree with my opinion or its lame as fuck and it sucks.

Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen for your time
boggsnort- August 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm
It ain't luck if it is what you are trying to do.

Chael needs to learn more BJJ, he keeps getting "caught" with "lucky" submissions to lose fights.

Stupid analysis. Sonnen only dominated because he doesn't know how to finish fights. One dimensional guys like him and Fitch are not real fighters, just wrestlers who know how to play the decision game.

If you are in a favorable position, you have to take a risk in trying to finish a fight, either with a submission attempt or with a KO attempt. Fitch and Sonnen are too scared to be on their backs to really go for the win.

Silva was the better fighter on Saturday because he finished the fight.
He Slipped- August 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm
I rewatched the fight, twice. And there is one thing that is very apparent to me.

Chael Shonnen did some really stupid things. I mean really stupid. Its like he beat Silva and around the late third round, simply didn't know what to do. Its like if he.... couldn't finish the fight. So as a result, he just started punching like Ralphie in a Christmas Story. If you have the video, rewatch the final round, and you'll see Sonnen in Silva's guard just flailing his arms, punching his sides. Why? You're winning the fight. This is like Courture spanking Tito. Sonnen wasn't doing this to win the fight, but to make a point.

Its like he was going not for only for the win, but for utter embarrassment, and later paid for it.
T.Bone- August 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm
if i went in there and tapped sonnen w/ a triangle it would definitely be considered "luck" based on the fact that i haven't ever had formal training. silva tapping sonnen was NOT luck. that was the result of years of hard work.

get your shit together CP.
Ballkick- August 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm
I just returned from the US of A, and Was completely thrilled with the experience of seeing my first UFC event live. The people of the Bay area were very nice and friendly. The Oracle was a fantastic place to see these fights as i don't think there was a bad seat in the house.
Roy Nelson is now one of my favorite fighters, anyone who could take that kind of punishment for 3 rounds is one tough Mofo.
I hate Matt Hughs but will give credit where it is due and he shocked the hell outta me with that win.

Thiago Silva needs to move up a weight division, and Fitch is vying for my vote as one of the most boring fighters in the UFC....horrible fight....
Jon Fitch is the best reason you'll ever have to go grab a beer that you'll ever need.
Fuck can you imagine if you will him and Jake Sheildzzzzzzzzzz fighting? that would get the Geriatric folks signing up for UFC PPV.

The main event had every person in the arena on there collective feet for 4.5 rounds. Nobody sat down for the remainder of the fight.
Chael Sonnen should be commended for making this one of the most memorable fights in UFC history. I really thought we were going to se a huge upset in the making. but,....No lucky Sub???????WTF? no such thing?

Anderson undeniably was getting his ass handed to him throughout the entire fight, I couldn't believe he had "NO ANSWER" to the take-down,....aught, blank, bottom, cipher, insignificancy, nada, nadir, naught, nil, nix, nobody, nonentity, nought, nullity, oblivion, ought, rock bottom, scratch, shutout, void, zilch, zip, zot.
AS a Muay Thai Instructor I love Andersons Stand-up, but never expected this type of man-handling by Sonnen,.....not in a million years.
Like Lesnar's near death experience, Silva was given the same wake-up call, thereby giving all his future opponents a path to victory over these two Champions.

One more thing I found disconcerting at the fight, "REAL" fans of MMA do not boo someone at the beginning of a fight and switch to chants of USA, USA! when that same person is winning, then just as a fickle fucker would start singing the praises of the guy who pulls out the miraculous win when it's all over. That really pissed me off.
Great card, Great fights, capricious fans,.......for shame Oakland.
masterlessfrivelbater- August 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm
Solution: stop scrolling down
Fight Fan- August 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm
This site, its writing and its analysis are not what they used to be.
LockDown- August 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm
A little bit biased this comment.
CP is becoming a fking joke lately.
Steelcityslicker- August 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm
Amazing.

Not only is Cage Potato filled with little keyboard warriors thinking that they know what they are talking about, sucking the wifi from their local "internet hotspots" (ie the highschool library) but they are also now all journalists!!

You guys continue to amaze me, you really do. You can do EVERYTHING so GOOD over the internet.......

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