Can Silva’s Performance Really Derail Fans?

By Emily Dalrymple

On April 18 during UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 97 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Brazilian born Anderson “The Spider” Silva had a poor performance. There is no doubt in the mind of any UFC fan that Silva was sub par and his performance was lacking in all necessary elements of a successful (and exciting) fight.

Anderson The Spider Silva. Image courtesy of Yahoo! Sports

Anderson "The Spider" Silva. Image courtesy of Yahoo! Sports

In Silva’s 5 round, 5 minute bout against Thales Leites for the middleweight championship title, the crowd booed, the crowd cursed, and they began to chant for Georges St-Pierre, the current welterweight champion and Canadian born hero. During the fight, Leites appeared to fall on the ground every time Silva struck. Silva was unwilling to jump to the ground, appearing to only want victory by a standing knockout.

Silva has been the current middleweight champion since Oct. 14, 2006. He is known to have an arsenal of knockout power including high leg kicks, punishing knees and Muay Thai skills. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a black belt in Tae kwon do, and a black belt in Judo. So why was Silva’s performance so weak?

Now there are reported rumors that in Silva’s post fight interview, his translator and manager, Ed Soares, gave his own version of what Silva had to say. According to Cagewriter, a Yahoo! Sports blog, Soares translated that Silva was apologetic after his fight. The Fight Network has translated Silva’s answers to say that he did not apologize; he felt that he performed to his ability and that the fans could boo, because after all, they are the ones who pay his salary.

UFC President Dana White has expressed concern over the event. He said that he was embarrassed and that he even thought about leaving the arena.

So what does this all mean for the UFC? If top contenders are giving poor performances, how long will fans continue to pay for tickets that range from $75 to $800? The solution to this problem lies within the fighters themselves. If there are more poor performances during the upcoming events, fans will start to tune the industry out.

UFC 98 promises two highly anticipated events. Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machido are currently both undefeated in their UFC careers and are fighting for the light heavyweight championship. Matt Serra and Matt Hughes will also fight. This fight has been anticipated since their grudge match played out on The Ultimate Fighter 6 television series.

While Silva has had an astonishing career, it is up to him to prove that he deserves this title. When his next fight is announced, many fans will be waiting with eager anticipation for Silva to fight the way he used to. If Silva fails to perform, White may be forced to consider his future within the UFC.

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