By Zach Arnold | July 9, 2013
For boxing fans, Nate Campbell’s idiotic taunting of Robbie Peden is a moment that no one will ever forget. The great Barry Tompkins had the call for what was such a ridiculous knockout. It was hard to imagine that we could possibly see something rival as dumb of a taunt as what Campbell did in the ring.
Well, that moment arrived when Anderson Silva taunted Chris Weidman and got blasted for it.
The Campbell/Peden clip is still aired on television to this day as the gold standard of blunders. So, you would think that such a high-profile fighter like Anderson Silva getting brutally punched would draw huge attention in the press. After all, Dana White claimed that PPV buys were trending towards the 800,000 PPV buy range for UFC 162.
Instead, press coverage has largely been quiet. ESPN didn’t air any clips from UFC 162 on Saturday night. Anderson’s KO was tailor made for Sportscenter and there was nary a peep. You would have thought on Monday that the clip would have gotten a lot of oxygen on sports media platforms. It didn’t. As I wrote on Fightline, you would think that Anderson Silva’s art of beclowning himself would have gotten major play. He’s the closest thing fans had to Fedor once Fedor became human. He became the man Dana touted as pound-for-pound king once negotiations fell apart with the Russian and his camp. If you read the Fightline article, you’ll see quotes from Jordan Breen discussing what Anderson Silva’s legacy is after the loss. That’s a question that easily gets a lot of response for debate.
So, where’s the discussion amongst the masses about what took place over the weekend? It’s as if Weidman was somehow just a bystander who got lucky that a champion was clowning around and that he punched the guy like any fighter should. Weidman was an underdog going into the fight, but not a Buster Douglas-sized 42-to-1 underdog. He was basically a 3-to-1 underdog in Vegas. Every fighter the UFC could find was picking Weidman to win the bout. And yet it seems that about 80 to 85% of the discussion from the fight is about Anderson Silva.
Vegas already has odds ready for the rematch, should it happen. The odds? Anderson Silva is a 2-to-1 favorite. Should he take the rematch, it will either happen in Las Vegas at the end of the year or happen in Newark, New Jersey on Super Bowl Weekend 2014. Which location would be better business-wise for UFC? Before you answer that question, consider the following:
- Why hasn’t there been more discussion about what happened this past weekend?
- Why is Weidman not getting the hype despite the manner in which he won?
- How would you compare the fan reaction to his win versus the fan reaction Fabricio Werdum got when he beat Fedor?
- What does the UFC need to do to convince the sports media and the public to take Weidman as a serious star who just grabbed the torch for the UFC Middleweight division?
Josh Gross claims that Anderson Silva will either accept the rematch or retire. If Silva doesn’t accept the rematch, then we’re looking at a scenario with Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort and Belfort will probably want the fight in Brazil. What a scenario it would be to see a possible super testosterone death match between Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.
Exit question: Given the recent discussion about where the UFC stands financially, how bad does it look in the press that Nevada’s athletic commission is claiming that Chris Weidman was paid only $48,000 for his title win over Anderson Silva? Yes, we know the figures given out by the athletic commissions isn’t fully accurate, but the headline given to the press that he was paid $48,000 to fight in the main event of a UFC 162 PPV that Dana White claims was trending towards 800,000 PPV buys looks awful — especially given that Weidman was marketed in the PPV campaign as “the perfect fighter.” Having a know-nothing sports press believe that you paid “the perfect fighter” $48,000 to beat the legendary Anderson Silva is awful public relations.