UFC 261 was about as violent as it gets.
Jorge Masvidal got his clock cleaned in one of the most sensational knockouts in recent memory, Zhang Weili lost her title by using her jaw to block a head kick, and Valentina Shevchenko nearly got brought up on charges for her aggravated assault against Jessica Andrade. And don’t even get me started on Jimmy Crute’s Go-Go-Gadget foot.
Yet none of them compare to the grisly destruction of Chris Weidman’s leg.
The former UFC middleweight champion, looking to prove he was still a top contender at 185 pounds, marched forward and uncorked a leg kick with all his might, only to see (and hear) his leg shatter upon impact. To make matters worse, he instinctively put that same leg down to brace himself as he tumbled backward.
That’s when this happened.
Weidman was rushed to the hospital and is expected to have surgery on Sunday morning to repair the damage, which will in turn set the “All American” on the path to recovery. But I think it’s not unreasonable to suggest that UFC 261, which took place on April 24 in Jacksonville, Fla. in front of a packed house, should be his final appearance.
There’s simply nothing left to prove.
Weidman turns 37 in June and has struggled to stay with the pack for the last several years. Prior to his Uriah Hall fight in “The Sunshine State,” the ex-champ dropped five of seven and got finished in all five losses. In addition, Weidman is no longer ranked in the Top 10 and already had multiple surgeries throughout his career.
What would be the point of coming back?
To prove it can be done, I suppose, or to have the opportunity to end his career on a different note. Anderson Silva, who suffered the same “accident” kicking Weidman at UFC 168, was able to make his combat sports return after spending a year on the sidelines. But Silva was also ranked No. 1 in the world and sported a 16-1 record in UFC when he rematched the “All American.”
In the case of Weidman, there’s really not much left to prove. He captured the middleweight title in summer 2013 and defended it three times. No failed drug tests, no drama outside the cage, and no ugly Twitter beefs. Outside of his slightly-annoying self confidence, when is the last time you heard anything negative said about Weidman?
The first two descriptors in his Twitter bio are “husband” and “father” followed by “4x Middleweight Champ” which should tell you in his own words what his priorities are (and rightly so). I think retirement would be a service to the people who love him and the fans who support him.
Sure, he can work his way back to the cage at some point and get another fight. Knowing what kind of competitor and hard worker Weidman is (and has been for his entire career) it’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that he could suffer another injury or lose by knockout, two things that should be of concern with more stories like this coming to light.
I think it goes without saying that Weidman is going to do whatever he wants, since it’s his life and his career. But there is certainly no shame in calling its quits, especially after having the good fortune to make it to the pinnacle of UFC and enjoy a championship run that most MMA middleweights can only dream of.
For more results and fallout from UFC 261 click here.