(‘You put mouth and money in same place, yes?’)
Either Wanderlei Silva desperately wants to hurt former friend/current bitter rival Anderson Silva any way he can, or else he’s really regretting that adjustable rate mortgage he agreed to, because “The Axe Murderer” is now trying to convince the UFC middleweight champ to put a little money down on his boy Rich Franklin at UFC 99. And by a little money, we mean roughly the median annual household income in the United States.
“If Anderson believes in Franklin so much, bet $50,000 and let’s see who takes the money,” Wanderlei told Fighters Only recently. This sounds like a great idea. We only hope Anderson Silva thinks so.
Side bets among fighters is really an underused method of driving interest in a fight. Even when we do see them, we rarely see them taken seriously and followed through on. For instance, “Rampage” Jackson said he’d bet his “whole purse” that the fight with Forrest Griffin wouldn’t go to a decision, which it did. We can only assume he escaped on the junior high betting loophole that demands a handshake for a bet to become official.
But it’s especially fun to see a bet between one participating fighter and one interested outside party. Wanderlei can actually affect the outcome of the bet, while all Anderson can do, aside from what he’s already done, is give Franklin some good advice (probably something along the lines of, ‘frustrate him until he comes in swinging wildly, then hit him on the chin’) and hope for the best.
On the flip side, if Anderson won’t agree to the bet it suggests that maybe he’s not so confident that Franklin will take this one. Then Wanderlei can further goad him by making noises like a chicken while flapping his arms, at which point honor will demand he pony up the cash.
Either way, this sounds like the perfect way to take a catchweight main event bout that’s not for a title or even number one contender status and inject some meaning into it. Everybody understands cold hard cash. Especially the dudes who were doing this sport when the prize was $200 and a free frozen steak to put on your swollen eye afterwards.