Meadville Tribune

July 9, 2013

WALK TALK: Down goes Silva

By Dan Walk
Meadville Tribune

— 1 I was so ready to rip Anderson Silva after he was knocked out by Chris Weidman in the second round on Saturday during UFC 162. After watching countless replays of the end result, I was prepared to say Silva took a dive, the fight was fixed and all those thoughts that go through your head after you witness something you didn’t expect. But as I thought things through, this isn’t about Silva; it’s about Weidman. I said last week that Silva has the ability to knock anyone out at any moment, so staying in his face and closing the distance would be important; little did I know Weidman would “pull a Silva” and be the destroyer.

2 Weidman is another example of this generation’s complete fighters — a Division I All-American wrestler with knockout power. The sport is quickly revolutionizing, and wrestling is the No. 1 base to work off. About half of the UFC’s current champions wrestled in college, while wrestling — with quality striking skills — has been a big reason for the prolonged success of welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

3 Silva’s demeanor afterward really made me think of how we, the fans, act after historical results like Weidman-Silva. He looked as if he could care less that he lost. He may have a few pounds less to carry around — the middleweight championship — but at the end of the day, a healthy Silva gets to go back to his family with a paycheck of $600,000 plus sponsor money. He really could care less about his legacy — that’s for us to analyze. Simply put, he got caught with his hands down against an aggressive opponent.

4 Silva really has no excuse for this loss — nor did he offer any in the post-fight press conference. Many say that clowning around with his hands down is “his style,” but that doesn’t take away from the stupidity of the approach. Sure, he’s a great counter puncher (ask Forrest Griffin), but he really is fortunate he’s gotten away with it and won as much as he has with his hands down fight after fight.

5 Silva’s loss was most definitely bittersweet for Jon Jones, who is now the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Then there’s the bad news, which is that Jones just lost a ton of money because the want and need for a superfight between Silva and Jones lessened now that Silva lost. Silva and Jones are friends, so some believe Silva lost to Weidman because he didn’t want to fight his friend.

6 As the MLB All-Star game rosters were announced, it’s time for everyone’s favorite debate: All-Star snubs. In a rarity, the fans really got things right this year, with Baltimore’s Chris Davis winning the AL fan vote as an example. There aren’t any glaring snubs this year. The Pirates had their most All-Stars since 1981, while the Indians didn’t deserve much more than Jason Kipnis. Carlos Santana could have been included if not for the Astros’ inclusion in the game filling up a backup catcher spot.

7 An interesting thing about this year’s All-Stars is the lack of big numbers for some great teams. The Rays, Athletics and Braves each have as many All-Stars — one — as the horrid Marlins. It wouldn’t be a shock to see at least one of those three teams in the league championship series. The lack of guys who are truly All-Stars really says a lot about how those three clubs are complete teams — rather than a collection of big-name players.

8 So the Rockets won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but even with Howard on board, a look at Houston’s roster doesn’t put fear in anyone’s mind. The Rockets aren’t any better than the fourth-best team in the Western Conference behind the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers. And that’s to say Memphis doesn’t get any better this offseason. The Rockets aren’t deep enough to be the best team on the west just yet.

9 Speaking of the Clippers, they’re following the Miami Heat’s success by surrounding superstars with 3-point specialists. The Clips added J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley — two guys who have built their careers around shots from downtown. That’s a scary team in Los Angeles, which also added Darren Collison to back up Chris Paul; and Matt Barnes is also on board. And let’s not forget that Doc Rivers is their new head coach. Anything less than advancing to the conference finals will be a huge disappointment for the Clippers.

10 It really goes to show the state of the center position in the NBA when teams are still showing interest in Andrew Bynum, who didn’t play a second for the 76ers last season due to knee troubles (among other things). What really bothers me about Bynum is that he’s not willing to workout for these potential suitors. These teams have to trust that he’s healthy — both physically and mentally. I feel bad for the team that signs him because he’s not worth spending a second on.

The preceding was The Walk Talk 10, which runs in the Tribune's sports section every Tuesday. Assistant news editor Dan Walk can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at dwalk@meadvilletribune.com.