SILVA VS SONNEN IS THE GREATEST MMA FIGHT EVER
The biggest fight in UFC history is this weekend.
I say biggest fight because it is, no comparison to other events that might in the end do better pay-per-view numbers, no comparison to superstar cards stacked to the brim with the best fighters, and no comparison to overly-hyped fights that never quite prove to be as dramatic as the buildup. This fight has everything and ironically it has it without need of the fight actually taking place. The backstory has proven to be as interesting as the conflict itself, manufactured or not. Some might credit Chael Sonnen with the feverish interest in all things UFC 148, but that would be an drastic oversimplification on their part. Everything about this event has a storyline, and that storyline has been evolving since the conclusion of the last match.
Sonnen did as well as one could do against Anderson Silva. Most who viewed the match awarded him 4 out of 5 rounds, and had the fight reached a decision it would’ve inevitably gone his way. However, a last-second mistake proved to be all that was necessary for Silva to turn an apparent victory into a 2 year wait for possible redemption. Over these last years several stories have come to light, not the least of which was Silva’s physical state going into the match. Much has been said about his bruised/broken ribs prior to fighting Sonnen, and even Silva’s documentary-style movie ‘Like Water’ details some of his challenges in relation to the injury. Sonnen has also had his own trials since the first match although they were related to elevated levels of testosterone (TRT). A failed test led to a suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the length of that suspension is what prevented a rematch with Silva from happening sooner.
Despite all this Sonnen has been at no shortage for words to Silva.
Only Sonnen could bring himself to call the P4P world’s greatest fighter an ‘amateur’. Only Sonnen could put out an interview saying that he’s going to slap Anderson Silva’s wife on the rear and have her make him a steak. Only Sonnen could get a call from the great Renzo Gracie himself asking him the equivalent of ‘tone it down’. At the UFC press conference this week we got a glimpse into Anderson’s mindstate when he pushed Sonnen onstage and seemed to mouth ‘you are going to die’. This may very well be the first MMA match that has ever lived up to the bad blood in Boxing heydays, and it’s definitely the first true rivalry we’ve seen of it’s kind.
Silva/Sonnen is a classic before it ever hits the Octagon. The forums have divided sharply between the fighters, media has put out story after story and multiple interviews come out daily with some new angle on the fight. Even Steven Seagal has been pummeled for questions regarding his association with Anderson Silva. Some interviews have polled current UFC fighters and most can’t decide who will come out on top based on the results of UFC 117.
One thing is for sure, very little at this point will prevent this event from being considered the greatest ever. Should it not live up to the hype or the ending isn’t as climatic as we would’ve liked to see it shouldn’t make a difference. The media coverage, fan interest, and multifaceted storyline is something we may not see again for a long time. True Mixed Martial Arts fans should celebrate this occasion no matter who the victor is on Saturday night, after all, whoever comes out on top will likely be considered the best in the world. As an Anderson Silva fan I fully expect my man to come out on top, however, Chael is a worthy challenger and has added enough to this bout to be proud of his achievements. Saturday night is going to be a barnburner and we’re all lucky to get our Holyfield/Tyson moment. It usually only comes around once.
Remember where you were.