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Anderson Silva's strange antics in his win over Demian Maia on Saturday in the main event of UFC 112 at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi drew an enormous reader response, including some from those who tried to defend the embattled middleweight champion.
I tackle plenty of questions on Silva, as well as a few on the B.J. Penn-Frankie Edgar lightweight title fight, in this edition of the MMA mailbag.
Has fame spoiled the Spider?
I, like many MMA fans, was disappointed once more by Anderson Silva and his antics in his fight with Demian Maia at UFC 112. Do you think it's the fame and swagger that has gotten to his head, or do you think that it's possible he doesn't feel challenged anymore? We saw the old Anderson Silva against Forrest Griffin and, let's face it, the middleweight division isn't the most stacked division in the UFC. Maybe it's best we see him in the superfight against Georges St. Pierre at 185 or maybe Anderson should make the move up to light heavyweight, where there will be plenty of challenges that await him.
Silva is clearly not the same fighter mentally that he was before. He fights now only as much as he needs to in order to win. He's so far superior to the men he's fighting, particularly at 185 pounds, that he doesn't have to push him. As a result, he's begun to regularly fool around and still win a very wide decision, as he did against Maia. Dana White made a good point at the postfight news conference that bears repeating. White said that if Silva is so much better than everyone, like Mike Tyson once was, that he knocks everyone out in two minutes, he'd rather have fans not buy the fights because Silva is too good for everyone rather than not buying them because they think Silva is simply going to clown. I certainly wouldn't reward Silva with a major fight after the effort he put in on Saturday.
Maia should have brought it
As much as UFC president Dana White has reason to be upset with Silva for goofing off during UFC 112, I think he missed the fact that Maia is the other half the problem. Silva is the champion and Maia is the challenger. The challenger is supposed to bring the heat and the fight to the champion and not the other way around. Maia, or any challenger, cannot and should not expect the champion to rush at him just so he could get the chance to win. Personally, if challengers are too afraid or too intimidated of the champion, they don't deserve a title shot in the first place.
Silva is far, far, far, far, far, far more gifted than Maia. That was clear from the first 30 seconds of the fight. Maia tried to find a way to get into a position where he could take advantage of his strength, which obviously is his skill at applying submissions. He had trouble doing that but didn't quit trying. Silva, though, quit fighting. Maia wouldn't have made it to the second round, I don't believe, if Silva had really been intent on fighting.
Taking the wrong view
My stance on the Silva-Maia fight may be irrelevant since I didn't decide to pay a fortune for the pay-per-view, much less attend the fight, but he definitely dominated Maia in convincing and astounding fashion. The judges sure thought so. Sure, you can spit simple-sounding accusations about his tactics, but this is a sport, and a very technical one. It's a two-person sudden death chess match in which championship fights have a lot riding on them. The only thing Silva is guilty of is being victim of the hype all the world, especially Dana White, has lavished upon him. He is still the best pound-for-pound fighter and deserves to be considered so. Why don't you see that?
I don't see it, I guess, because unlike you, Marco, I flew halfway around the world, spent Yahoo!'s money and had to sit through that atrocity. Let's say this was a college football game, pitting Florida against UNLV. Florida should win by, oh, seven or eight touchdowns or so, right? But instead of playing hard, the Gators try all sorts of gadget plays, the runners stop before the end zone and taunt the defensive players to catch them and more or less fool around the entire game. If the final score ends up say, 10-0, instead of 56-0, would you be defending Florida's effort? I don't suggest Silva has to try to score spectacular knockouts. I say he has to give a concerted, consistent effort throughout and knock off the tomfoolery.
Silva should be cut
Dana White has the opportunity to show the athletic world that no one is bigger than the game. Dana could stand up and cut the bum. Silva doesn't deserve to be associated with the UFC and the greatest fighters in the world. He disgraced everyone: fighters, fans, promoters, owners, new investors, new fans, up-and-coming fighters, the media. He disrespected anyone and everyone who helped build the UFC. That show was on in prime time throughout the Middle East. There were hundreds of thousands of new viewers. Silva made a mockery of everything that has been built. Let the jerk go to Strikeforce or whatever second-rate promotion that wants him. As a huge UFC fan, it was the first time I was disappointed in a show. I am disgusted.
Cutting him might be a bit extreme, but I get your point. The paying customers aren't very happy with Anderson and his actions are going to have repercussions far down the road.
Anyone who pays to watch Anderson Silva fight against after that fiasco has got to be a fool. Disgraceful is the only word to describe it. What I don't understand is he kneels and bows to his opponent and the crowd before the fight, then acts like a clown in the circus during the fight. If you think you're so much better than the other guy, then why don't you knock him out? This is why fans appreciate guys like Manny Pacquiao, who fights with heart and honesty. The best way for fans like us to respond to Silva is to ignore him in the future.
When Pacquiao fought Joshua Clottey last month in a boxing match, Clottey wasn't particularly interested in engaging. Pacquiao didn't take crazy chances, but he kept throwing punches and he kept trying to make it a fight. That's all anyone asked of Silva, no more, no less. I don't blame anyone who boycotts Silva.
Penn was robbed
I have read your take on the B.J. Penn-Frankie Edgar lightweight title fight at UFC 112 and had to sit through and hear broadcasters Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg rant and rave about Edgar's performance. The bottom line is this: Though Penn did not look his best, he did not lose the belt in that fight. Edgar moved around about four times as much as Penn did, but he did nothing! Giving credit where credit is due, he took down the fighter with the best takedown defense, but one of them was weak and was more of a slip. The other was solid. Overall he did not win the stand-up exchanges and his performance did not take the belt from Penn. You have to come in and beat the champ, which he did not do. It is Penn's fault for putting it in the judges' hands, but nevertheless the scoring was horrible.
I think you were watching a different fight than I was, Lee. Before I talk about the fight, I want to address a point you made that is frequently stated but is completely incorrect. You wrote, "You have to come in and beat the champ, which he did not do." That's an old wives tale which has no bearing. The champion's edge in a title fight is that he keeps the belt if there is a draw. Otherwise, whoever wins the fight should be given the fight. Why should a champion get credit for a successful fight in the past? Judges are scoring the event in front of them and not giving credence to something that occurred in the past. Each of those rounds was close, particularly the first four. I had Edgar winning 48-47, but I couldn't argue if someone had Penn, 48-47. It's ridiculous, though, to suggest that Penn was in any way robbed.
How could it be 50-45?
B.J. wasn't himself, but how did one judge see the fight 50-45? I was taught as a young kid that you had to beat the champ to earn the title, not just outpoint him. There is no way that Edgar beat B.J. The problem with boxing is that they dance around and Frankie did not beat B.J., he danced around. What do you think? By the way Anderson Silva once again gave people a reason to hate him.
As I said above, your premise about beating the champion to earn the title is incorrect. But let's also discuss Douglas Crosby's 50-45 score. As I said, I had it 48-47 for Edgar, giving Penn Rounds 1 and 2 and Edgar Rounds 3, 4 and 5. But there was a razor-thin margin between the fighters in those rounds, particularly the first four. So if the judge thought that Edgar had the advantage, 50.0001 to 49.9999, he would score the round for Edgar, 10-9. If he saw each of the five rounds that way – and it's not an unreasonable stance – then a 50-45 score is easily justified.
How about Bellator coverage?
Why didn't you have anything to say about Roger Huerta fighting in Bellator before the bout, especially since it was televised? All you talk about is UFC stuff. You and Yahoo! Sports ought to have some kind of disclaimer if you've got a deal.
We did have coverage of the Bellator card and Huerta's debut on our site. We had stories about it on our Cagewriter blog, which will be in attendance at Thursday's Bellator show in Chicago, as well as from our partners, MMAWeekly and MMAjunkie. And we will continue to have coverage of all the top promotions. However, if Bellator or any promotion put on cards in the vicinity of event featuring top-level fighters like the UFC's Anderson Silva and B.J. Penn and Strikeforce's Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi, they're going to take a back seat in terms of volume and placement of the coverage.