In the aftermath of UFC 112, the company’s first foray into the Middle East, the media and the fans should be discussing Silva’s record-setting sixth straight defence of the 185lb crown and raising the question of who can stop him. Instead ‘The Spider’ is being vilified, not glorified. We have been here before.
Last April, following on from a disappointing defence against Patrick Cote, Silva’s main event showdown with Thales Leites was booed out of the building in Montreal, with some considering it the worst title fight in UFC history. Fast forward 12 months and boos were again in the air as Silva took a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia.
Having dominated the opening two rounds ‘The Spider’ began to prance around the Octagon, screaming at Maia to hit him - even going as far as to hit himself. In the fourth he did nothing, and in the fifth referee Dan Miragliotta got so sick of the behaviour that he went as far as to warn Silva that he would deduct a point if it continued. It was a farce and White was furious.
The straight-talking UFC president was conspicuous by his absence as Bruce Buffer confirmed Silva’s victory. Usually in the middle of the Octagon waiting to wrap the belt around the waist of the champion, White was so disgusted by Silva’s actions that he had already walked out to the post-fight press conference.
In that time he will have no doubt been pondering what to do with Silva. A long-haul flight back to Las Vegas will also give him chance to think. But what options are available to White?
TAKE SILVA OFF TV. White has mentioned that the UFC could consider relegating Silva to non-televised fights on future events. After all, who is going to want to put down their cash, particularly in this financial climate, to watch a fighter that is not actually going to fight? And would this actually bother Silva?
GSP. Prior to and throughout the erm… fight Joe Rogan repeatedly stated a win for Silva would set up a showdown with dominant welterweight title-holder Georges St-Pierre. Should Silva be rewarded for his display with a contest that MMA fans have talked about for years? Can they trust Silva not to start acting up again during a fight with a man considered by many to be the promotion’s ‘Golden Boy’? Do people even want to see this fight happen now?
CHAMPION VS CHAMPION. Silva has fought at light-heavyweight and has also expressed an interest at going all the way to the heavyweight division. He has stated in the past that he does not want to face friend and training partner Lyoto Machida, the reigning light-heavyweight champion. However, should Mauricio Rua take the belt in May then this may be a fight that could reignite some fire in Silva. And one thing is for certain if he wants a crack at the heavyweight title, Silva certainly would not be able to taunt Brock Lesnar in the same way he did Maia. Just ask Frank Mir!
RELEASE HIM. Would White be so bold as to make such a statement? I think it is highly unlikely that he would be willing to hand the man that he has called the best in the world to a rival promotion such as Strikeforce.
LET HIM FIGHT ROY JONES JR. Silva has wanted a showdown with the former world champion boxer for quite a while now but White has always vetoed the possibility of this happening. Maybe it is time to let Silva have his own way. However, Jones’ recent record is hardly impressive and the risk of one of the world’s finest mixed martial artists losing to a past-it boxer may be too great.
DANCING WITH THE STARS. Hey, if the guy wants to dance about for 25 minutes then this show will suit him down to the ground. Silva appears to have the grace and rhythm to make him a real contender, and he seems happy to leave it to the judges!
So there are just a few things that may be going through White's mind at 30,000-plus feet... well, maybe not the last one but that was for entertainment purposes. It will be an interesting few months in the world of Dana White, Anderson Silva and the Ultimate Fighting Championship... more interesting than three out of the Brazilian's last four outings.
“It’s really hard to take an angry man seriously when he’s wearing a bathrobe.” - Carl Fogarty