The genius Anderson Silva – or, the art of building an excuse

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Chris Weidman knocks Anderson Silva out during the main event of UFC 162; photo: Getty Images

Photo via Getty Images.

There were two final dodges. And two consecutive left-hand punches. On the first one, the dodge won; on the second, the fist won. And down he went. After seven years and six days, Anderson Silva finally lost his UFC invincibility, 78 seconds into the second round of the main event of UFC 162 in Las Vegas.

The arm of Chris Weidman, the new middleweight champion, had not yet been raised, and the social networks were already teeming with theories about the fight. The two main currents were 1) the conspiracy one (“rigged fight”), which I refuse to address, and 2) “If Anderson hadn’ f*cked around, he would have knocked Weidman out easily.”

I once had a training partner in Jiu-Jitsu who had incredible skill, but would also only come close in tournaments. He would usually lose in the final. But there was always a lot of expectation surrounding his performance.

He would practice like all of his competing colleagues, but, come tournament week, he’d start going out at night to drink. Even so, he’d do well, but he never got first place. Everyone would say: “Man, imagine IF he were more dedicated, if he wouldn’t go out to drink, at least not while competing.”

Even though the IF made no sense, everybody would fall for the fallacy of conjecture, including him. Indeed, what he was doing when he went out at night was building an excuse for defeat.

Fast-forward to the night of July 6 at the MGM Arena in Vegas.

Weidman starts out pressing, puts Silva on the bottom and dominates the first minutes of the match. Anderson is a monster and, even at a disadvantage, he holds back Weidman, who, focused, looks for spaces, throws strikes, positions himself and, at one point, goes for a series of attacks on the champion’s leg/foot, which end up costing him the top position.

The fight resumes standing, and Anderson starts playing, gesturing, dancing – essentially trying to destabilize his opponent, but also building an excuse. Whether Weidman was being affected by the mental attack, we’ll never know. The fact is that, retaining his focus, he continued to charge, and Anderson didn’t stop kidding around even after the break.

Then Weidman got the knockout. But in the eyes of throngs of experts on the social networks, he didn’t get the merit. After all, Anderson had built his excuse masterfully:

Would Anderson Silva have lost IF he had fought seriously?

There is no alternative reality. At least not outside drunken philosophy and comic books. In his post-fight interview, Anderson himself made a point out of praising the new belt holder.

Weidman is a world-class athlete, just 29 years old, and he is no easy fight for anyone, not even the greatest champion in UFC history.

With or without kidding around.

Kudos to the genius that is Anderson Silva, who managed to become, in the eyes of many, the protagonist. Even in Chris Weidman’s night.

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