Anderson Silva’s knockout loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 hit new mixed martial arts fans in Brazil like an atomic bomb.
The so-called Globo generation, which began following the UFC when Brazil’s biggest TV network purchased broadcast rights to the promotion, is having a hard time accepting what happened to the pound-for-pound king. Discussion of Silva’s demise has been rampant in the South American nation -- never in the history of Brazilian MMA has a subject prompted more mainstream debate.
On Sunday, Rede Globo’s two most important news programs, “Esporte Espetacular” and “Fantastico,” both dedicated extensive coverage to the fallout from UFC 162, including interviews with Silva and many other fighters attempting to clarify to the Brazilian people what really happened.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Silva told “Fantastico” from his academy in Los Angeles.”I trained four months to win, [and] I lost in the worst way. I have never lost by knockout, and of course it will be marked on my history. After everything passed, I felt that I needed to answer many questions to myself. I don’t want to take anything from Chris Weidman, but I lost to myself, and that’s the worst loss that can happen.” Silva also commented on the attitude of the fans.
“I respect a lot of what the fans have to say, but I don’t fight only for the fans – [I fight] because I love this sport,” he said.
Clearly upset with rumors that he had thrown the fight, Silva added: “I would never do that out of respect to the fans, to the sport and also to Brazil.”
Later, Silva addressed criticisms leveled by middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, who took to Twitter to accuse his countryman of disrespecting his opponent.
“If it were Muhammad Ali saying that I was not humble, then I [might think about it],” Silva said. “But I can say there was no lack of respect. I respect all opponents. I think provocations are part of the game, part of the show. If it had worked, people would think it was awesome.”
At the end of the interview, Silva reviewed the loss to Weidman with a Globo reporter before promising vengeance in their Dec. 28 rematch.
“If I had taken one step back I would not have been hit,” he reflected.
Earlier that day, Brazilian fighters Demian Maia, Renzo Gracie, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Rafael Cavalcante appeared on “Esporte Espetacular” to offer their thoughts on what happened in the middleweight championship bout.
Maia didn’t think that Silva disrespected Weidman: “In my opinion, he lost his concentration because of the excess of jokes,” he said. Meanwhile, Silva’s antics surprised Gracie, who was well aware of the Serra-Longo Fight Team product’s toughness and reach.
Nogueira recalled a post-fight meeting with the fallen Silva shortly after the bout’s conclusion.
“He called everybody in the room, we held hands and prayed together,” Nogueira said. “It was a pretty moving moment.”
Cavalcante, a training partner of Silva’s, denied that the former champion had sold his title.
“How will someone selling a fight fall unconscious on the ground like that?” Cavalante said. “I know him very well. He doesn’t like to lose -- not even in video games. If the [rematch] were today, he would fight much more aggressively. This fight would finish by knockout.”