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How big is fan interest in an Anderson Silva rematch with Chris Weidman?

By Zach Arnold | July 9, 2013

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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:

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.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 50 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

50 Responses to “How big is fan interest in an Anderson Silva rematch with Chris Weidman?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) The only people who care about reported pay are the hardcore fans who buy every ppv anyways.

    2) The UFC could not ask for a better rematch. If Weidman beat up Silva for 5 rounds nobody would be asking for a rematch. But a LOT of people think Silva would have won if he was not showboating. This makes the rematch a MUST SEE fight. It is going to be huge.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I should add that Silva/Weidman is already a Top 10 fight all time for me. I have not been that excited about the outcome of a fight in 2 or 3 years

    • edub says:

      1) Not accurate. My friend who is a casual fan started a FBstatus with the numbers of the UFC 160 payout. I corrected him on that there were discretionary bonuses missing while also probably some PPV points paid out, but it still turned in to a laughable conversation (as the Mayweather fight had just happened also).

      This in no way to say that it has any traction with them on the level of hardcore fans. However, to say there is no interest isn’t entirely accurate either. Especially when the released numbers are so paultry they attract attention.

      2) Agreed. A lot of people are convinced that Weidman had barely anything to do with the win. Its pretty annoying actually.

      • nottheface says:

        I think the money issue can hurt in the long run. when people like Mike Alvarado comment that he’d never get into MMA because the pay is so paltry, what kind of message does that send? Boxing took a huge hit in particpation when people started noting it left boxers punch drunk and broke. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me that MMA ends with the same image.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Oh no the sky is falling…

          And I have a friend who doesnt care about fighter pay. Now it is 1-1 in random fans opinions.

          Even in the major sports… pay is talked about as a side item. Nobody watches because of it.

        • nottheface says:

          Didn’t know expressing concern about the “long run” is being a Chicken Little. Learn something new every day.

        • edub says:

          Maybe I didn’t express it enough; This discussion started between me and one other person. It turned into a round table type affair with 9 or ten other people commenting on it. The main theme was the hilarity between the reported pay of the mma fighters, and Floyd out earning every fighter on the card by about 28 million dollars.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And people don’t watch sports based on what the athletes get paid. It is a side conversation that has little impact on viewing habits.

          And this idea that the UFC will lose out on athletes….

          1) Combat Sports in general will never get the top bigger guys. Those guys will go to Basketball & Football.

          2) Most athletes compete because they love to. The money is secondary. The Olympics pays basically nothing to athletes. That hasn’t stopped those guys from still going after a dream.

          3) The sports that do attract people doing it “for the money”…. Become thug leagues…. Where like in the NFL…. A few weeks ago they already had 30 arrests of athletes since the super bowl. MMA doesn’t need that type of trash.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And to add one more point…. MMA mostly draws from Wrestling and BJJ for their athletes.

          There is no way for amateur wrestlers to make money. So MMA will always be an attractive avenue for these guys. This is why every year you still see a few all american wrestlers to to MMA.

          Same with BJJ. There is no money in pure grappling.

          Not to mention anybody under 5’10″…. Their options for competing in sports in general is SMALL (no pun intended)…. So a league where they can compete despite their small size will also be optimal.

          This pay talk hurting the sport is a joke.

        • edub says:

          People don’t watch for it, but they get behind athletes they feel are underpaid.

          3)Closet racist alert.

          None of what you said has any relation to the discussion about pay, as fighters are starting to voice their displeasure while still being contracted in the UFC (something that wasn’t at all up front a year or two ago).

          Amatuer wrestling not making any money has not point. BJJ not making any money has no point. When these guys head into fighting they will follow what their peers are doing.

        • nottheface says:

          interestingly enough, football players commit no more crime than the general male population of the same age group

    • Mark says:

      I haven’t seen a UFC fighter name stay on a Google News Story sidebar that long in ages, probably since Brock Lesnar retired. So I’d say this loss made Silva a bigger name than any one of his victories, even his top-buy rate fight with Forrest.

      Will that translate to rematch buys? Who knows. But more people know about him than knew about him before the fight. So that should get him one of his top 3 buyrates.

  2. janklow says:

    yeah, but if Weidman intentionally waited to win to renegotiate, what are you going to do?

  3. janklow says:

    also: “Every fighter the UFC could find was picking Weidman to win the bout?”

    for someone that takes what the UFC says with a grain of salt, you know that statement was proven false in the run-up to the actual fight.

    • edub says:

      It’s actually not acccurate at all. There were a bunch of fighters who picked Weidman, but there were more that picked Silva. Be it Twitter, FB, or MMA website pick articles.

  4. Jeebus says:

    Two things, PTI and sportscenter did talk about the fight but both stated that they weren’t allowed to show knockout. Two, ESPN is notorious for burying non ESPN sports in their coverage.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And they will be burying it even more now that FOX is directly competing with them with FOX Sports 1.

    • Simon says:

      Correct. I saw Saturday nite/Early Sunday Morning on the Main ESPN Sportscenter, towards the end I think, they showed a highlight but they couldn’t show the actual knock out or the beating Chris put on Anderson while he was down. They even mentioned how UFC wouldn’t allow them to show the end.

      Then, on PTI, Michael Whilbon (sp?) was complaining, comparing what Boxing used to do and still does, withholding the actual highlight/ending from the press, saying UFC is making as big of a mistake as Boxing does when they do it. Also, on the Post Fight show on Fuel, They didn’t show the knock out either, Jay Glazer said they weren’t allowed to either, telling viewers to buy the Replay on PPV.

      I think they did it for two reasons. One, to limit the damage it caused to Anderson’s Legacy. Two, Fox Sports 1 will be direct competition for ESPN and thru the years, UFC has practically begged ESPN for coverage only to received minimal amounts of coverage on only the Largest of Events.
      So the UFC looks at it like now there’s competition in the sports world for Highlights of sporting events between FOX and ESPN, they know that holding out for FOX will benefit them more and possibly rubbing it in ESPN’s face now that they are forced to cover mma. ESPN/Disney can’t afford to let FOX just come straight for their established market dominance.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The news in this country really is horrible…

        Regular News has become entertainment with talking heads spewing political lines.

        Even in the sports world…. They cover who they have a contract with.

        It is all appalling…

  5. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    I want to see some real fights with meaning…a 3 event PPV series with 8 fighters Diaz vs Silva, Lee vs Stann, Jacare vs Silva, Bisping vs Munoz.
    Let belfort blow a hole through weedman in the third final show as co main event with the tournament finals.
    Thats how you do it…

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    45 Huddle said:

    Oh no the sky is falling…

    And I have a friend who doesnt care about fighter pay. Now it is 1-1 in random fans opinions.

    Even in the major sports… pay is talked about as a side item. Nobody watches because of it.

    Well, money is a big issue — especially when it comes to the kinds of contracts NFL players sign Stateside. And if you really want a debate about pay, take a look at the salaries in the various European football associations. Hell, Al Jazeera of all networks did a documentary on whether or not the English Premier League was losing its soul because of how much “mercenary” money there is being thrown around. (Think: Manchester City).

    If you don’t think money has an impact, take a look at Japan. Once the yakuza & TV cash dried up, there is no more major league MMA scene there.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Yes, but the UFC will NEVER be able to compete with the NFL or NBA.

      Most athletes who are 6′ to 6’5″ will compete in those leagues. Boxing or MMA will never get the majority of those athletes back.

      But for guys with a wrestling background who have no profession to go to…. MMA is their BEST option.

      For an athlete who is 5’8″…. MMA is their BEST option.

      TITLE IX has the potential to be 1 Million times more damaging to the progress of MMA then the perception of fighter pay does.

      • edub says:

        Per the amount top athletes get they most certainly could right now. Its why boxing has fighters that are on par pay wise with top guys in the NFL.

        Wrestlers like Burroughs and Metcalf have already said no to a career in MMA. Many wrestlers of that caliber have shunned it in recent years as it simply doesn’t offer enough incentive to stop wrestling/coaching/camps.

        • nottheface says:

          Mike Alvarado said he didn’t and wouldn’t enter MMA because the pay was “chicken scratch’. That’s a 98-0 multi state HS wrestling champ who chose boxing because the pay was better. Brian Melancon almost turned down his fight at UFC 162 because he was worried it would interfere with his “real” job, which was too big of risk to take.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Boxing does NOT get the bigger athletes. They get the leftover of the leftovers of the bigger athletes.

      • Mark says:

        Boxing does NOT get the bigger athletes. They get the leftover of the leftovers of the bigger athletes.

        Newsflash: the world is bigger than the United States. Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans count boxing as their biggest money making opportunities.

        And before you say “Yeah, but Americans only care about Americans”, take a look at the Latino population. Boxing is better off than MMA is in 2013. Get a clue.

        • cutch says:

          Lol biggest money making opportunity? yeah Football/Soccer is much bigger in all those regions and guys like Messi are hardly large.

          Almost every top athlete got into their Sport of choice as a kid and they certainly didn’t do it for money.

  7. Simon says:

    “Why hasn’t there been more discussion about what happened this past weekend?”

    Because most of what is being said is asking the question of “Was the fix in” or “Did Anderson Throw the fight?” or “Did UFC know they were fixing the fight”, which by that point I just stop reading anything else from any site that wrote one of those stories.

    The real, honest answer is because MMA Media is made up of fanboys and hacks and bloggers and arm chair martial arts instructors and keyboard warriors, with a sprinkle of actual journalism, but not enough to consider the coverage to be accurate, unbiased, and fair.

    You say, “Josh Gross says blah blah blah Anderson retire blah blah blah”. You know how many times Josh “World’s Number One Fanboy Turned Journalist” Gross has “said” something only to turn out he was full of shit? Well, any number that is more than 2 or 3 is too many times, but Gross is far beyond that point.

    Is this how it works?:
    You are an actual journalist, you start “covering” the sport long before there was much to talk about, and despite your history of being a fanboy, all the sudden the sport picks up and a flood of new fanboy bloggers show up and that somehow automatically legitimizes you?

    I’ll never understand anyone’s support for Josh Gross. Just look at his past history, the stupid shit he’s done and said. None of it gives off the air of credibility. I’ll also never understand newer, post TUF fans who get defensive about Gross. They cover for him and get mental anytime someone like me explains who this hack really is.

    • Jonathan Snowden says:

      When the main topic of conversation after a fight is whether or not one of the athletes took a dive, it’s certainly something worth writing about and considering. It would be irresponsible not to address those rumors.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Yes it is…. Especially when if it was a dive… He would have done so with the leg lock…. Not getting KO’d.

      • RST says:

        @ Snowden…


      • Jason A Harris says:

        Snowden, the Perez Hilton of the MMA world, saying it would be irresponsible for him to not be an inflammatory gossip.

        Gotta love it!

        • Jonathan Snowden says:

          “Snowden, the Perez Hilton of the MMA world”

          For God’s sake, if you’re going to attempt to insult me please get some relevant material. Whether you enjoy my work or not, there’s nothing remotely resembling “Perez Hilton” in anything I do. I don’t talk about athletes’ personal lives or write any other standard tabloid fare.

          Accuse me of being a partisan. Maybe compare me to a David Barton or some other hack historian. But Perez Hilton? That’s so laughably off the mark it doesn’t even register as criticism.

          Please take this to heart. I would love to help you be a better troll, but it seems like it’s a lost cause. Bad instincts.

        • Zheroen says:

          Bold words coming from Jason Harris, who is the Chris Crocker to Dana White’s Britney Spears.

      • Simon says:

        Bullshit and you know it.
        WHY is the main topic after the fight “The Fix”?

        Not because of any legitimate MMA News Source. No, “The Fix” is part of the story the following morning because the mma fan world is made up of pro wrestling losers who still to this day can’t tell the difference between real fights and fake bumps.

        MMA has a high amount of supposed fans who seem to think comparing UFC to WWE is somehow a productive and meaningful discussion. But it can’t be only the fans talking about the fix, right? How else? Shitty, Hack Bloggers who think their opinion is The Opinion and no one’s else’s matters.

        We are at a point in MMA where even pseudo-journos feel like they have to be a part of the discussion, like they matter and they somehow have some determination on where the dialog should go after these events.

        So for someone like me who despises ALL Bloggers, All Hacks who pose as media, Someone like me who avoids these type of people like the plague, then No, No it is not even worth considering.

        If this were Real World News, News with actual substance and meaning and consequence, with legit media coverage, you wouldn’t rely on the hacks who scream “Conspiracy” when it comes to any important issue currently in the news.
        No one pays attention to or lends credence to the voice leading the way for the ignorant assholes.

        So for you to say A discussion on whether or not this fight was fixed is a relevant discussion on the grounds that “Everyone else is talking about it” makes no sense.

        Fuck “everyone else” and what they think.

        Who gives a shit what the misinformed think?

        Who cares what the ignorant think?

        Who legitimizes the hacks who scream conspiracy?

        You, apparently.

        • Zach Arnold says:

          The SI video about whether or not it was a ‘fix’ was bad enough, but ESPN asking Chris Weidman during his Bristol ‘car wash’ about the rumors of the fight being fixed sure was curious. I think the fact that ESPN reportedly is not being allowed to show the actual Weidman KO punch of Silva due to UFC influence is just adding fuel to the conspiracy.

  8. Simon says:

    Speaking of Hacks, did anyone see the Sports Illustrated video where that chick kept calling Chris Weidman, “Chris Weedman”? She also said something about “Phantom Punch”. Yeah.

    It was a panel consisting of Chris Mannix (writer for SI) and two Producers of SI. Plus the dumb chick. You would figure the bastion of Sports News and Stories would do their research before commenting while being recorded about the subject they are speaking on. They completely botched the piece, calling the sport “Less Regulated Than Boxing”.

    If I’m correct, MMA (Not UFC, UFC isn’t the sport) at the highest level is the most regulated sport in the world? For sure it’s more regulated than boxing.
    But yeah they totally blew it and came away looking like ignorant assholes to us, but to anyone who watched the piece without any knowledge of MMA, probably came away with a negative impression.

    Meaning most of what these people know about Mixed Martial Arts is totally wrong. That’s not a good thing for obvious reasons.

  9. Simon says:

    “What a scenario it would be to see a possible super testosterone death match between Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.”

    Look man, I know (Or I assume) you don’t really mean this, but when I read what you wrote that line, it’s almost as if you want this matchup just so you can shit all over it the month leading up to the event and for a month after, if not longer.

    Let me change what I said, I Hope you don’t really want that to happen. But knowing your history of really going after Testosterone Users with much aplomb. Cause in a way, you go overboard in your pursuit of cheaters. I know of several people, more people than not, who would rather see SAC’s reverse course and allow PEDS. At least that way you take the Gym Rat out of the equation or the Shady Pharmacist/Shady Doctors out of the picture. You put the decision of what to give the athlete back in the doctor or endocrinologists hands and opens back up a level playing field.

    If everyone is allowed to use PED’s (There are good PEDs just as there are Terrible, Horrible side effects from bad PEDs) and there are benefits to both the integrity of the sport and the enjoyment of the fans, then I’m all for it, and so too are many many people I’ve spoken to.

  10. RST says:

    6 or 7 years worth.

    Personally I think its pointless…

    But there is money to be made!

    Hopefully every flamderson fan bets the mortgage on flamderson…

    So I can drink the tears!

  11. RST says:

    It would be racist for the pop sports media to broadcast the incredibal amazing super can crusher andersons sudden exposure.
    While he’s undefeated crushing cans for the last 7 years its a multi-culti success story.
    But when it ceasing to be that, MMA is suddenly no longer pop front page material.
    Images are more valuable then realities for some people.
    Thats also my main gripe with the pro-rasslin direction UFC takes sometimes.

  12. edub says:

    Grant out of his fight with Bendo.

    Pettis is in. Conspiracy theories abound, apparently.

    I love it.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And works out perfectly because Feather has more title contenders… so Pettis was just clogging things up.

      Between the Silva took a dive crowd… and now TJ took a payout… the MMA fans are looking real pathetic lately.

  13. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Looks like stann is out of the running, Munoz and Bisping is set, and A silva is looking like hes rematching that lucky dude.
    So im thinking Diaz vs Kung lee and W silva vs Belfort is a pretty smoking main event in a 4 man elimination for a title shot.

  14. 45 Huddle says:

    Weidman vs. Silva 2 is happening on December 28th…. Rousey vs. Tate is being pushed to co-main event.

    I have to say…. With the exception of the next PPV… Which is a stinker…. The rest of the years PPV cards are looking solid.

    With 5 PPV’s…. 2 of them have TWO title fights.


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