UFC 112 was completed yesterday from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was a groundbreaking event that saw the UFC visit the Middle East and put on a show in front of its new business partners, Flash Entertainment. Things were going well. Mark Munoz had just come from behind to beat Kendall Grove. Rafael dos Anjos dimmed Terry Etim’s star a bit when he locked in an armbar and forced the Brit to tap. Phil Davis, the UFC’s hot new light heavyweight prospect, made the broadcast and showed his versatility as he finished off his opponent via anaconda choke. Two legends in Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie did their thing and a new lightweight champion was crowned as Frankie Edgar bobbed and weaved his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Then the spiral began.
Anderson Silva, the man many consider to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, made a mockery of the sport, his opponent Demian Maia, and lost a very large amount of fans – all in just fifteen minutes time.
From the opening bell, Silva continually clowned Maia, but was landing punches and kicks at will through the first two frames. While all the showboating isn’t really my cup of tea, Silva was at least displaying his far superior skills by landing a few stiff jabs, a flying knee that broke Maia’s nose, and several punishing leg kicks. Then all of the sudden, it stopped. From the beginning of the third round until the fight’s conclusion, Silva danced. Silva ran. Silva taunted. Silva did just about everything you can do inside the Octagon except the one thing that so many in attendance and at home paid to see – which was fight.
UFC President Dana White was beside himself. For the first time in his ten years in the business, White walked out on a main event.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in ten years of being in the business. It’s the first time I’ve ever walked out of a main event,” said the dejected UFC boss.
Adding even more confusion to the night is where the UFC goes from here with Silva. There were rumors that he was to drop down to 170lbs to take on another pound for pound great, Georges St. Pierre. However White was quick to point out in the post fight press conference that “he doesn’t deserve to fight GSP.”
Headlining another pay per view any time in the near future seems very unlikely as well. White went a step further in saying that Silva “might be the first champion to fight on an undercard.”
FIVE THOUGHTS FROM UFC 112
1. Phil Davis is the real deal. After totally dominating Brian Stann in his UFC debut, Davis didn’t miss a beat in his return to the Octagon. Showing his very strong wrestling, Davis forced Gustaffson to the ground and submitted him via anaconda choke. Not only does Davis have the skills to be a superstar in the sport, but his personality and willingness to cooperate with the media is sure to accelerate an already promising career.
2. Very few guys can legitimately compete into their 4o’s. Renzo Gracie returned to mixed martial arts after a three year layoff and it showed. Gracie was unable to mount any kind of attack against Matt Hughes and was eventually finished off with 30 seconds to go in the match. Mark Coleman showed his age in his match against a super human Randy Couture. Chuck Liddell’s career is on a sharp decline as he moves into his forties. MMA is a rough sport that is very hard on your body. Add to that the wealth of young new talent that is pouring into the sport and mixed martial arts might soon somewhat mirror tennis where you’re “old” at 32.
3. Anderson Silva owes Frankie Edgar an apology too. Almost lost in the hoopla of the Anderson Silva circus is the amazing performance by New Jersey native Frankie Edgar. After dropping rounds 1 and 2 on Heavy MMA’s scorecard, Edgar rallied to win the final three frames to become the UFC’s new lightweight champion. His thunder was totally stolen by the antics of Silva and much of the post UFC 112 coverage has gone to what a jackass Silva is, as opposed to the huge upset Edgar pulled.
4. Every fighter could learn a little from Clay Guida. I’m sure Anderson Silva thought he was being entertaining. He was not. The real way to be entertaining in MMA is to go out there and fight your heart out each and every time you enter the cage. This is the mantra that has made Clay Guida one of the most popular fighters, not just in the UFC, but in all of MMA. Fancy entrances are fine and dandy and there is certainly room for personality and individuality in the sport. But just know, all the dancing and clowning is not, and never will be, a substitute for going out there and leaving it all in the cage.
5. Love him or hate him, Dana White truly cares. While there are certainly things about the UFC President that puzzle me from time to time, you can’t watch the video below and say that White doesn’t care about the sport and its fans. He is clearly bummed out and nearly, just nearly, at a loss for words. I’m sure the conversation that he, Silva, and Soares had in the trailer was…interesting.