As soon as Chris Weidman had finished battering Anderson Silva to win the middleweight title last Saturday night (July 6, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada (see it here), the mixed martial arts (MMA) world exploded. And if UFC 162 is to supply anything, it's a test case study on how the simplest things are likely to be misunderstood by the uneducated.
Meanwhile, everyone, from those in the inner rungs of the UFC to the uber-outlier casual fans, had their opinions.
The UFC color commentating team seemed to spin into a damage-control mode about how Silva's clowning around cost him the belt.
Fans in chatrooms and social media alleged it was a "fix."
The first question in the UFC post-card press conference asked for Dana White's reaction to the talk of a fix. To which White, with his trademark candor, replied "That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life. That is just stupid."
Hear him spell it out right here.
I'm siding with White on this one, and I'm glad he went all-in. The irony is that most of the fans thinking there was something fishy are that next outer rung the UFC is forever in search of, one that have been previously connected with and captured through relentlessly consistent and effective marketing of the sport.
Frankly, if you're dumb enough to question a QO - to see a man flaunt the basic rules of stand-up fighting, then get bashed in the face with his chin a foot behind his feet (and to the side, to boot), and then drilled in a face while supine, and then still wonder how he ended up KO'd - then there's the door.
And may it hit you, hard, on the way out.
Anyone alleging a fix also misses a far more easy way Silva could've gone out, which was when Weidman transitioned into a kneebar attempt earlier in the bout. That would've been the perfect out if there was any funny business at hand, but obviously, Silva didn't take it.
It's a lot harder to make a fake knockout look good, especially when you're Anderson Silva fighting, well, Chris Weidman. But that doesn't change the fact that putting your head out on a stick means pretty much anyone can knock you silly, which is precisely what Silva did.
The loss also scuttles the prospect of two UFC superfights with Silva taking on either Jon Jones (more likely) or Georges St. Pierre (less likely, as GSP has never really wanted the fight). If that's a fix, there is no financial incentive behind it whatsoever. Instead of having either of those two promotional gems to work with, the UFC instead is left with bupkis outside of a Silva-Weidman rematch.
Silva's loss is a reminder of how dangerous it is to fight the way he does, and how amazing his record-setting win streak has been. He's a brilliant talent and has been a champion without peer. He made a mistake and got caught.
Why he got caught, be it the percentages finally catching up with him, or age, or both, is a fascinating question, one that will only be truly settled if a rematch occurs and concludes in satisfying fashion. But the only "fix" that was in was the recurring constituency of people who have to see a conspiracy everywhere, even when the simplest of evidence is right in front of their clueless, unseeing faces.
If anyone walks away from MMA because of this fight, we don't need them around.
Jason Probst can be reached at www.twitter.com/jasonprobst
For more UFC 162 results, recaps, videos, reactions and other post-fight fallout, check out our "Silva vs. Weidman" wrap-up and link dump by clicking here.