So I want to start this out by stating a few things: Firstly, I’m not a die hard Anderson Silva fan. I’m also not a hater. I’m not a Weidman fan or hater, and I’m not a UFC conspiracy theorist. I’m a fight fan, I love the sport, and I absolutely think that if the fix was in last night, the UFC was not a part of it. That being said, I do think it was raised a lot more questions than answers.
After arguing with Twitter all night about this fight, I wanted to break down the fight, and walk you through my line of thinking. Here’s the clip you should definitely review:
Now I get that clowning his opponent has often been part of Anderson’s strategy, I’ve seen EVERY one of his fights. He’s famous for it. What Anderson is not famous for, is getting rocked by a “probing” jab. This wasn’t a straight jab, or a “hook” as Rogan called it. This was a reaching attempt to make contact, which it did, but far from having enough power to rock anyone, let alone Anderson Silva. You can even see that the punch had such little power that Weidman’s wrist bends at the point of contact.
So why would the world’s greatest fighter take a dive? I’m not going to speculate, rather I’d tell you to listen to Anderson’s post fight remarks. He was exhausted of defending the title, appreciative of the money and support America has showed him, and was quick to point to Weidman as the new king of the Middleweight division, despite the UFC’s reputation for posting immediate super-fight rematches. He didn’t want a shot to get his belt back, and was vocal about having NO interest in that fight.
So why do I assume he took a dive? It’s pretty simple:
If you’re Anderson Silva, and you have ten fights remaining in your career, why would you want 50-75% of them eaten up by no name middleweights in defending a title? There’s no money in fighting in the Middleweight division. Think I’m wrong? Silva’s purse for the fight was 600k, with a 200k bonus if he won. Weidman made 24k for the fight, and a bonus of 24k for winning. His KO of the night 50k bonus actually surpassed his purse for the entire fight. Even with all of that, he still made 1/6 of what Silva made in this fight.
I saw Dana White on the JRE podcast shortly after Silva signed his deal. Dana said “this guy lives for big fights.” That’s not going to happen in the middleweight division.
So why throw it? Why not stomp Weidman, and relinquish the title after? Well, there’s no money in it.
Anderson comes from a poor part of Brazil. If you’ve seen “Like Water,” you know he has a large family, and his 10 million dollar net worth pales in comparison to the 20 million he’d be worth if he went all in and threw it. Everyone says that’s dumb, and that it can be tracked, but trust me: There are plenty of ways to filter your money through multiple channels and double your stake. For all I know, this has been planned since after the first Sonnen fight. He had shown he was human, and had weaknesses, so would America buy a Silva loss if he were to throw his next fight with a wrestler?
But how do you throw a fight on national TV? How do you take a dive in front of the world, and even fight expert Dana White at ringside, without it being obvious? It’s simple. The best way to get people to believe is to make them WANT to believe.
Anderson knows how much his tactics piss off the fans, Dana, his opponents, and the world. So if you’re going to throw a fight, or take a dive, wouldn’t you taunt your ass off before getting “caught” taunting to end the fight? People were so psyched to see him go down taunting, that they ignored the rest of it: the weak punch, the fact that his eyes were on Weidman the whole way down, and the fact that he made no efforts to defend himself once downed, and despite all of that, made no attempt to win the fight through the first 7 minutes.
Bottom line: Anderson takes a dive betting against himself, makes 10 million, (and 600k from the fight itself), and sets himself on track for some of the biggest fights in UFC history. He can pick and choose, and has no “title-holder” duties to fighting no-name opponents in defense of a belt he has already held for 7 years.
Of course, the fastest way for Dana to avoid “dive” chatter like mine is to force a rematch between Silva and Weidman, and deny any Anderson superfights. My guess is, Weidman loses the belt before Silva returns, Silva beats Weidman in the rematch, and then goes on to fight Jon Jones/GSP, etc.
If I’m right, Silva’s next five fights look something like this:
Silva vs. Weidman 2 - Non-Title Fight (probably in 2014)
Silva vs. Rampage/Rashad - High selling superfight
Silva vs. Gustafson/Uriah Hall/Teixiera - to show he’s still the man by squashing top contender for light heavy title.
Silva vs. Jon Jones - for Light Heavy Title
Silva vs. GSP - Probably both fighter’s last major fight
The gates for these fights, and the PPV revenues for Jones/Silva will make the UFC (and Silva) more money than 10 more middleweight fights.
I might be wrong, but the next 36 months will be interesting.