Wanderlei on Anderson: ‘War is declared’

Apr 18, 2009

How did Silva and Leites somehow make Demian Maia look bad?
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 8:06 p.m. ET: Anderson Silva apologists have officially gone off the reservation. According to scuttle, it’s actually matchmaker Joe Silva who’s at fault for delivering a bad style matchup for the UFC’s middleweight champion.

This would imply that the UFC should begin ignoring achievements in the cage and focus exclusively on challengers who make TV friendly sense. Leites earned his shot, but since he won’t come in and Anderson won’t move forward, it’s a bad fight -- so let’s junk it and call Ross Pointon?

Good God.

A follow-up surge of dissent says Demian Maia -- another jiu-jitsu practitioner unlikely to get into a firefight with Silva -- should be avoided so we don’t get a repeat (actually, three-peat) of Saturday’s hot mess. What a shame to even consider. Maia is the most deserving of contenders at the moment, and he has a very tangible chance of doing things to Silva on the floor that would very quickly put his pound-for-pound status in doubt.

It shouldn’t be anyone’s coal for Christmas, either: Silva has made it clear he wants to fight more often, and in his last two performances, he went out of his way to guarantee he suffered no derailing damage. Maia-Silva should be an easy August affair -- and perhaps by way of slight penalization for those performances, playing second-banana to the Randy Couture-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira main event.

Liddell’s one bright spot
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 7:50 p.m. ET: UFC 97 was not the evening Chuck Liddell had hoped for -- unless one counts the inevitable post-fight parade of tanned, plasticine flesh that was probably waiting to comfort him -- but there was one margin note that might raise his spirits.

With his loss to Mauricio Rua, Liddell claimed the record for the most UFC bouts ever. It was his 22nd appearance in the Octagon. Prior to the fight with Rua, Liddell and Tito Ortiz were tied with 21 contests each.

Paul Herrera, conversely, spent exactly 13 seconds in the Octagon. Thank Gary Goodridge.

Lashley wrestles with respect
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 5:46 p.m. ET: Barely a day or two after lauding former WWE acrobat Bobby Lashley for entering MMA with humility -- he’s been content to enter the sport through the service entrance, fighting in smaller shows against lower-tier competition -- he has to go and ruin it.

Lashley popped up during something called “TNA Lockdown” Sunday night, which appears to be professional wrestling slang for “embarrassment to the human race.” Lashley greeted former WWE pal Kurt Angle in the ring. I assume some poorly performed theater for the hygiene-challenged ensued.

Lashley can obviously do as he pleases to earn a buck, but I don’t think his hybrid career will do the sport of MMA in the U.S. any favors. It’s a deranged spectacle, full of drug-addled performers taxing their adrenal glands in a poorly scripted imitation of athletics.

Max von Sydow had the quote in a Woody Allen film: “Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling?”

I really don’t want to try.

Silva gets an ‘earful’ from White -- by proxy
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 1:58 p.m. ET: Yahoo’s Kevin Iole reports that during Saturday’s fan-bumming bout between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites, Dana White walked over to Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, and expressed undisclosed sentiments. (Audio unavailable, and almost certainly not-safe-for-work in content.)

White’s specific comments have not been shared, but it’s safe to assume they weren’t congratulatory. It’s sparked discussion over the role of the promoter in potentially influencing how an athlete competes. We know the UFC’s participants have gotten the rah-rah speech prior to events in the past, but to address Silva’s management in mid-competition is flirting with charges of impropriety.

At UFC 5, SEG’s Art Davie ordered John McCarthy to stand up a deadly-dull bout between rivals Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock after roughly 30 minutes of demoralizing guard play. McCarthy obeyed -- this was in 1995, prior to any real organization -- and Shamrock immediately cracked Gracie with a punch that puffed his face. Royce’s brother Rorion blamed Davie for the injury and sold his share of the UFC not long after; more recently, EliteXC’s Jared Shaw was seen screaming at the cage official when paper tiger Kimbo Slice was at a disadvantage.

It’s an ugly precedent to set. If White charged Silva’s management, why not run over to Leites’ and request that he stop flopping to his back? (Rhetorical question: because White has no authority over a fighter’s decisions in the ring.)

White’s frustration is understandable, particularly considering the corner he painted himself in with ceaseless talk about Silva being the evolution of the fighting species. But doing laps around the Octagon, railing at management, invites the wrong kind of attention.

Check the blog all day for more entries.

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