Anderson Silva shouldn't take it on the chin for UFC victory over Thales Leites
Have you ever seen a spider samba?
I don't know much about the dance form. I'm not an expert on MMA. But I did enjoy watching Anderson "The Spider' Silva try his best to make a fight with fellow Brazilian Thales Leites, well ... a fight.
Silva taunted Leites during Saturday's UFC Middleweight Championship bout, shimming his shoulders as he mocked the world's greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter.
The reigning title holder danced like a butterfly, but UFC president Dana White stung like a bee.
“I can honestly tell you that I’ve never put on an event that I was embarrassed to be at until tonight,” White was quoted in a Yahoo Sports column after Silva won a unanimous decision that went the full five rounds. “I want to publicly apologize to all the fans."
He also had some words during the fight for Ed Soares, Silva's manager, and was supposed to have a "long conversation" with both men afterward.
White wasn't upset over what Silva did in the ring. It's what he didn't do. As Leites repeatedly flopped on his back -- hoping to engage in a grappling battle that better suited his own style -- Silva refused to pounce on his prey.
Silva is drawing a lot of heat over his refusal to engage. One of the most scathing blog writeups has language that's too inappropriate to link, but Google "Redemption? Why Anderson Silva Is To Blame for Lackluster Performance" on Bleacher Report if you're really curious. These reactions are a little like blaming Cy Young for failing to enter a home run derby. Maybe he wasn't wildly entertaining -- but he sure knew how to win within his own talents. Afterward, there was no questioning who was the best man in the octagon.
If anybody should be the fall guy, it's Leites. While generally blamed for his own performance, he should be blamed for the entire fight (or lack thereof). He ruined the evening by repeatedly pulling guard, a move where you fall on your back hoping to engage your opponent on the ground. It's one thing if you're already close to your opponent and take him down in a bear hug. It's unbearable if you flop without any real contact. There is no technical term for what Leites did -- though I bet Bleacher Report can think of some funny ones.
-- Adam Rose
Photo: Thales Leites tackles Anderson Silva during one of the interesting moments in their World Middleweight Championship fight at UFC 97 in Montreal. Credit: Ryan Remiorz/AP Photo.