The Sure Thing

Anderson Silva was the safest bet in sports. Until he wasn't.
Share |

Silence.

Followed by hysterics.

That’s what it sounded like when it happened.

However, 30 minutes before the first fight, my buddies and I huddled in a corner of the MGM Grand’s bustling sportsbook planning parlays and how much money to place on Anderson Silva beating Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 162. When you make risky bets from the undercard, hedging with as sure a bet as someone who has never lost in the UFC and, more importantly, made his opponents look like fools for even thinking there was a chance seemed like a sure thing.

But by now, you should know what “it” was, how it happened and that we lost our shirts trying to predict it.

***

When DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” started blaring over the arena’s speakers the tension in the room became palpable. Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman's entourage each took about ten minutes to reach the octagon, and from the moment the two combatants decided to forgo the ceremonial touching of gloves, we knew this was going to be a fight. And there is nothing like being at a fight.

There are matches, where two technicians grapple to see who has spent the most time practicing, like Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald from UFC 87. Then there are brawls, where two big bruisers attempt to knock each other’s heads off for their own edification (Don Frye vs Yoshihiro Takayama.)

This was a fight.

This is the grown up version of two people meeting at the flagpole in high school: trying to beat someone up and look good while doing it. All the lead in pre-fight talk, weigh-ins, press conferences, open workouts, etc. were like waiting for school to get out. Our hearts were in our throats and for those of us like me -- one of the few in attendance without allegiance to either fighter -- we spent the time before the bell soaking in everything going on around us in anticipation of the show.

It started off slowly, with the requisite feeling out period teasing the crowd like a top waiting to fall. The first to make solid contact was Weidman, who took down the Brazilian as uneducated patrons (read: Weidman supporters) screamed at the top of their lungs when the Hofstra grad went for a submission early. Even if “The Spider” was never in any danger, the Brazilians shouted their traditional “Whoomp, there it is” chant when their fighter popped upright, as if they were letting those there to support Weidman know that despite their notions the contrary, this was business as usual.

Then something remarkable happened. As round one came to a close, Anderson Silva lost control of his emotions for what feels like the first time in history and the 12,000 or so in attendance went quiet. Momentum is so important, and the pendulum was swinging the way everyone thought it would. Until two minutes into round two.

***

The hype for the fight had made itself. All the UFC marketing department ended up having to do was get every fighter on the roster to give their picks on who would win, knowing many would chose the younger Weidman. Silva wisely didn’t talk Weidman down in the lead up to the bout, instead praising his talents. This, for some, planted the seeds of doubt for his first loss in 17 bouts. To them, it sounded throughout the process as if he had already conceded defeat, or at the very least, come to terms with the possibility.

Further turning up the heat on UFC 162 was the week-long celebration of the organization putting on the show. “Fight Week” serves as the anchor on Zuffa’s, the company that owns and operates the Ultimate Fighting Championship, pay-per-view schedule, like WWE’s Wrestlemania AXXESS. Except instead of fanboys and children, it’s filled with attractive girls and people who are in shape or really trying to look like it, creating a vortex of pool parties, club appearances, a two-day Fan Expo, and every name in the world of fighting converges upon Las Vegas for the biggest card of the year.

And it’s an experience for which MMA fans seem more than willing to pay, with ticket prices starting at $125 and working their way up to $1250 per seat for the fight alone and nearly every other part of the weekend costing even more. With 12,399 in attendance this lead to a gate of 4.862 million, that’s a serious amount of bank into which my motley crew each made a $250 (plus ludicrous service fees) deposit. On top of this fight, we talked ourselves into getting tickets to the Fan Expo -- imagine a martial arts swap meet, crossed with fighting seminars and autograph session -- that was well worth the $50 price of admission.

Our home base of Southern California meant that it was just 3 and a half hours via car to Sin City or -- if you’re “somebody” -- a hop, skip, and a jump from the local airport. Needless to say, my two buddies and I drove. Three bachelors who work at a restaurant and grocery store meant this trip was a splurge, but a small price to pay to be in person for the most expected/surprising knockout in MMA history, right?

When we finally arrived in Paradise, NV. we saw a sight synonymous with the UFC and what it stands for -- other than shirts with foil print: the Octagon, front and center in the MGM Grand's lobby. A physical testament to how the UFC had grown from a “fight club” into a major U.S. sport, but one we had to move past the temptation of pictures in front of, so that we could get to an exclusive Q&A with UFC'S “public” man in charge, Dana White.

We strolled into the Expo mouths agape. Booths of every MMA brand imaginable were in rows with lines wound in between as fans waited patiently for chance to meet premier fighters like Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre, standing next to fighters on the midcard waiting to be noticed by the sport’s purists. If there’s one thing to be loved about the sport, it’s the steep drop off of recognition an up and coming fighter has in comparison to the few famous (and infamous) faces of the sport. Those who are new to the game are regular folk and seem to be as enamored with the enormity of the event just as we are.

Following a surprisingly long wait in line to meet Michael Bisping, a fist bump from Dana White and a stern rebuke by Jon Jones for a picture, it was time for the most important reason I had made the trek to the desert, a meeting with Fuel TV Director of Publicity John Stouffer to see the weigh-ins, so I bailed on my friends and made my way with John. While this may seem like the name drop of the century, the time I got to spend with Stouffer from the sidelines involved watching Chael Sonnen respond to obscenities hurled at him from fans, so it seemed newsworthy.

***

When I wasn’t talking shop or checking out the fan expo, most of my time in anticipation of the fight was spent on The Strip. It was there I noticed that the invading hordes of MMA fans seemed split 50/50 for the two men in the main event, how easy it was to pick out for whom almost every individual was rooting.

Weidman fans were more boisterous and noticeably more asinine, in that bro-tacular kind of way, not surprising considering they had nothing to lose in picking the contender and everything to gain in being able to say “I told you so.” Meanwhile, the Brazilian contingent confidently strolled around in “Anderson Knows” shirts, speaking Portuguese amongst themselves. There was noticeable tension between the two camps and it made for the environment of a lifetime when finally entering the arena.

Even those of us unattached chose which side we were on the moment we entered the Grand Garden Arena, with Brazilian or U.S. flags being handed out to everyone in attendance. By forcing their hands to make a public declaration, the audience was flung into siding with either the unbeatable, overconfident, foreigner champion or the young undefeated guy from New York with a U.S.A. tattoo on his back.

The result was more "U.S.A" chants than a Hacksaw Jim Duggan match. Brazilians own MMA and play that specific type of bad guy very well after years of practice on the futbol pitch, a role Anderson Silva embraced with open arms with arms at his sides. He may not have outed himself as the bad guy prior, but his actions during the match did the talking.

Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones, Jr., Michaels Jordan and Tyson have done the same thing. Utilizing who they are and what they have previously achieved to strike fear in who standing on the other side. All have also failed in doing so at some point.

***

The first place I noticed the similarity in comfort level of Silva and Weidman was with John at the weigh-ins. Both seemed anxious, as the final staredown became less face off and more of an appearance on the arena’s kiss cam. Everything was top notch production wise, the UFC pulled no punches all weekend. It doesn’t hurt that the Fertitta brothers -- who along with running Zuffa, own half of Las Vegas under the label Station Casinos -- are able to advertise up and down the strip. Stouffer pointed out that no one draws the attention that Silva does and people had flocked to the free weigh-ins instead of enjoying the Expo they had payed $50 plus dollars for.

What Weidman took advantage of was the fact that none of that mattered. He was patient, he didn’t fling himself at Silva the way The Spider wanted, and as a result Silva was rattled. This is why the showboating and egging on became excessive, frantic and quite frankly, desperate. Weidman didn’t fear Silva and you could feel it.

There were fleeting moments where Silva looked as if he had everything under control. Just as he did using same gameplan against Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. But then it happened. All the chants and witty comments stopped. One fateful punch on the square of Silva's chin.

Silence.

Followed by hysterics.

The crowd turned on Silva immediately. That 50/50 split became drastically one sided as those who had been cheering Silva immediately tried to save face by frantically searching for U.S. towels left underneath seats. For the moment, Weidman and Silva were equal. I stood in disbelief, observing those around me. I wasn't dreaming, nor was I wasted. "Anderson lost?" I said aloud. I was brought back to reality by Chris Tucker-esque shouts from Friday, behind me: "HE JUST GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT! FUCK BRAZIL! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

I had prepared myself for Anderson Silva no longer being Middleweight Champion of the world, but not in that fashion. The shockwaves could be felt everywhere. The varying emotions were evident on everyone’s face. Referee Herb Dean was so engrossed he looked like incompetent Steve Mazzagatti. Down went the champion and up came the possibilities for new matchups and a new middleweight landscape. More importantly, the “G.O.A.T.” has something to fight for: defeating the blemish on his record, the guy he couldn’t beat - Chris Weidman.

Leaving the arena was almost as engrossing as the fight itself. Those who had cheered Weidman were euphoric, antagonistic and annoying. Anyone they saw that had been supporting Silva was the enemy and someone they felt the need to demean. The nationalism of the Fourth of July, paired with liquid courage made for a feisty atmosphere. One that I dread, mainly because of the connotations that it brings towards fans of the brutalistic sport. It became an issue of country, when in reality the fighters could have been from anywhere. The real story was David defeating Goliath.

Sure, Silva gracefully exited stage left and allowed Chris Weidman to go celebrate with his Hofstra buddies at Surrender nightclub. Sure, Silva said he was done fighting for the strap, but of course Anderson is back scheduled to fight for the title, with a chances he will be successful. But things will be different next time. Weidman the champion, Silva the one with something to prove to himself, for his country and about his reputation.

Or at least it should feel like that.

***

I returned to my room drained from what I had just experienced first hand. Had I attended some bar with a five dollar cover charge and watched from a bar stool as, I don’t think the range of emotions I was experiencing would be as far reaching. I felt for SIlva, and I was proud of Weidman. My phone was blowing up with “did you see that shit? You just witnessed history!” texts. Twitter was a Jekyll and Hyde of excuses, shock, and anger. One second confident Silva backers were tweeting in 140 characters how things were going just as they had thought. Then moments following the punch to the chin of Silva, came one word responses.

This is sports in a nutshell. Invoking emotions from those interested in the fighters, promotion or sport. We pledge allegiance to those we like for personal reasons or the way they carry themselves. Those who adore Silva were disrespected by the way he fought in the Octagon. Not exactly what you would expect from someone who bows to his opponent. Those of us there, know what we saw, but it doesn’t mean the loss cannot be rectified. Sports are best played in series, and the opportunity for a “best of three” between Silva-Weidman is the best situation possible for all those involved. Patrons, fighters, businessmen. Everybody.

I keep each ticket stub from the event I’ve ever attended in a shoe box beneath my bed. Of course, most of the stubs are forgotten once they enter the box and the memories are no different, because who remembers a California -- or was it Anaheim, or Los Angeles of Anaheim? -- Angels regular season game pitched by Mark Langston when they've been to 100 others? It takes a special event with cataclysmic results to stick. The UFC, plus Las Vegas, multiplied by a knockout of the "greatest mixed martial artist of all time" Anderson Silva makes for something I will remember until I die. Stub or no stub.


Share |

Comments

Thank you so very much buddies! I like your all best ever posts daily here. My hat is off to you on your special working.
best essay writing service

Amazing article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It's fascinating, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own particular concerning this subjec Life insurance for seniors

Incredible post I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this fascinating and learned article. pterocarpus marsupium benefits

Precisely, you're exceptionally sort of us about remark!. foods with resveratrol

Celebrity Sex Tapes Watch the best Celebrity Sex Tape porn videos in HD Quality. All in one place!

porn videos 4tube brings you new free porn videos every day. Watch great xxx sex videos and pornos at the best free pussy and porn tube site on the web.

escort izmir İzmir’ de yaşayan veya yolu kısa sürede buraya düşecek olan her yaş kategorisinden ve fiziksel özellikten beyler. Artık uzun bir süreden beri bir türlü yolundan gitmeyen cinsel isteksizliklerinizi nefis fanteziler ile bütünleşmiş sıcacık bir gece de sonlandırmak mümkündür. Yapmanız gereken sizlere yardımcı olmak için profesyonel anlamda refakat hizmetini veren bu kadınlarla yakından tanımak, profillerine göz atmak olduğudur. Eğer son derece her şeyin anlamlı olduğu ve kesinlikle yaşamak için can atacağın bir izmir escort arıyorsan hepsini burada bulabileceğinin güvencesini de sana vermek isteriz. Kaldı ki eski yeni, popüler ve vitrin duyurularına göz atmak adına hiç bir üyelik ve para ödemeyeceğini de bilmelisin.

Thank you very much for this useful article. I like it. uhaul

decent bLog! its fascinating. much obliged to you for sharing.... their explanation

pertamina solusi bahan bakar berkualitas dan ramah lingkungan
The web site is lovingly serviced and saved as much as date. So it should be, thanks for sharing this with us.

That is the great attitude, in any case is simply not make each sence at all proclaiming about that mather. For all intents and purposes any strategy an abundance of thanks notwithstanding i had try to advance your own particular article into delicius in any case it is evidently a situation utilizing your data destinations would you be able to please recheck the thought. much obliged yet again. pop over to this site

Your site is truly cool and this is an extraordinary rousing article. white wine glass amazon

A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to talk about this, I feel emphatically that affection and read more on this subject. On the off chance that conceivable, for example, pick up learning, would you psyche overhauling your web journal with extra data? It is extremely helpful for me. link

much obliged to you for an incredible post. holdem poker

i adore perusing this article so beautiful!!great work! uridine molecular weight

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises... harga pakej umrah

Amazing article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It's fascinating, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own particular concerning this subjec link

Upholstery Cleaning
Welcome to FreshStart Cleaning Service! We are the most reputable carpet cleaning firm in the Daphne, Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia area. We pride ourselves in providing the most thorough carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, tile and grout cleaning and water extraction services.

I read this post fully concerning the difference of latest and former stuff, it is awesome article.
Chris Walker - top SEO expert

SevenMentor Pvt Ltd is Worlds No.1 class training institution basically focused network security and networking related courses.we deals with all international standards with courses. The various training program we are offering in the field of networking leads to International certifications.Linux Classes in Pune

i am interestingly here. I discovered this board and I in discovering It genuinely accommodating and it helped me out a great deal. I want to present something back and help other people, for example, you helped me. werbegeschenke bedrucken

russian girls I am recommend escort Dubai big directory with very nice girls profiles! You can find girlfriend for travel and enjoy with her! It's amazing!

best porn The most complete portal in the world at this Special adult time. The most beautiful and sexy porn stars. Millions of free porn from all categories, meetings for sex, the most beautiful escorts around the world and more. Do not waste time looking elsewhere. Enter on our website and with just 3 clicks you can find everything you want in adult and porn categories. Here you will find the richest collection in the world.

decent bLog! its fascinating. much obliged to you for sharing.... beauty salon düsseldorf

Much obliged for setting aside an ideal opportunity to talk about that, I feel firmly about this thus truly like becoming acquainted with additional on this sort of field. Do you psyche overhauling your blog entry with extra understanding? It ought to be truly valuable for every one of us. messebau köln

bedroom furniture

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

I'm happy I discovered this site, I couldn't discover any learning on this matter former to.Also work a website and on the off chance that you are ever inspired by doing some guest composing for me if conceivable don't hesitate to tell me, im dependably search for individuals to look at my site. new casino 2017

You have a real ability for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article. I agree with your way of thinking Vladislav Sirota

I can give you the address Here you will learn how to do it correctly. Read and write something good. kadyn home remedy results

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing... หญ้าเทียม

I randomly read your articles. you write knowledgeable articles. i am new in the field of blogging and SEO. very useful for new bloggers. keep going i’ll visit frequently for such knowledge discover more here

Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. hartlyn photo pro

Awesome web journal you have here. You'll find me taking a gander at your stuff regularly. Spared! mikrowelle tests

Very nice article. I enjoyed reading your post. very nice share. I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks !.Domicilios de Escorts y prepagos en La soledad

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you! XnXX

Your articles are always a joy to read. The information that I collected from this article was very helpful for me to complete my project on this topic. I just hope that you will continue to give more stuff like this. débarras paris

They will take the data you give them relating to your appropriate purchaser, discover each one of those customers for your sake, and afterward convey them to your Twitter page, inside several days. how to get a lot of followers on twitter | clash of clans deutsch

I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I am reasonably certain I’ll learn a lot of new stuff proper here pharmacy technician course requirements

I concede, I have not been on this website page in quite a while... in any case it was another delight to see It is such an essential point and overlooked by such a variety of, even experts. experts. I thank you to help making individuals more mindful of conceivable issues. tattoo supply

A debt of gratitude is in order For sharing this Superb article.I utilize this Article to demonstrate my task in college.it is valuable For me Great Work. car cover

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance Bike Storage Ideas

I simply discovered this online journal and have high trusts in it to proceed. Keep up the considerable work, its elusive great ones. I have added to my top picks. Much obliged to You. psychic reviews

VR Porn Users of VR Smash are now able to watch virtual reality videos in VR mode without any downloads or removing the headset to change videos.

Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up! miami dolphin tickets

Amazing article! I need individuals to know exactly how great this data is in your article. It"s fascinating, convincing substance. Your perspectives are much like my own particular concerning this subjec buy fast YouTube views

طراحی حرفه ای سایت

طراحی سایت شرکت فروشگاه طراحی سایت ارزان, طراحی سایت حرفه ای,گرافیکی, بهترین شرکت طراحی سایت ایران, طراحی وب سایت

Hey, I discover perusing this article a delight. It is amazingly useful and intriguing and all that much anticipating perusing a greater amount of your work.. code réduction spartoo

wow this saintly however ,I love your enter plus nice pics might be part personss negative love being defrent mind total poeple , Kofferwaagen

Buy backlinks I was searching the blogs for a long time and that is good to know that I have found such blogs here. Great working! Keep it up! visit this site hurry !!! Dofollow Blog Comments

Comprar Seguidores reales en y Comprar des Likes - ¿Por qué comprar seguidores falsos? Si hay en nuestros seguidores activa activos por el mejor precio!comprar des comentarios