The most visually offensive thing that you could imagine happening turns out to be our reality. The symbol of horrific sports injuries, the leg break, has taken down arguably the best fighter in the history of MMA in Anderson Silva at UFC 168.
It was such a big deal that the good-natured words of an Australian thespian/evil future-seeing sorcerer earned the ire of MMA fans when he posted this to his Twitter timeline a day before the event.
Yet all this madness was caused by a lowly leg-kick check from the reigning, defending middleweight champion, Chris Weidman. On the totem pole of MMA techniques, checking a leg-kick is maybe situated on the ground somewhere nearby added when needed, as many fighters opt to trade a kick for a clean shot of their own.
Despite that fact, after the fight Weidman claimed intentionality. He and his coach, Ray Longo even refer to the common technique as “The Destruction.” That’s right, they named it, that’s how intentional it was, and some mainstream news outlets are attempting to run with those remarks.
I’m sorry, but let’s stop things right there before we get too crazy.
Weidman’s post-fight posturing is understandable, but in no way can he really claim authorship to this freak injury. Weidman doesn’t have a macabre fighting style and we’ve never seen him inflict this sort of graphic punishment on anyone else. Sure, his elbow on Mark Munoz had some flare, but it wasn’t remotely as visceral as this horrible accident. What I mean is he’s obviously not trying to be “Toquinho.”
If you don’t agree, allow the UFC darling Conor McGregor to explain it. Give it a little Irish accent when you read it.
See, it was more Anderson’s mistake. McGregor knows.
Don’t get me wrong, Chris Weidman is still a deserving champion and I’m very excited to watch him fight again. It’s just that sadly it’s such an afterthought. Like Lauren Murphy in her Invicta FC Bantamweight championship win due to Miriam Nakamoto’s knee injury, this is a pretty disappointing way for Chris Weidman to solidify his position of defeating the best in the world twice.
That’s what really transfers all the potential value and buzz away from Weidman winning and towards the moment itself. It’s incongruity of it all. Weidman’s mundane act of raising his leg resulted in him retaining his title.
I always feel a bit guilty when faced with MMA’s uglier side. I try to vocally celebrate it’s more tasteful accomplishments, but for every Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson there’s an equal measure of gross confrontations with the human body’s limitations.
Regardless, add this vital moment to MMA lore because beyond it’s profanity, it also becomes one of the sport’s most significant scenes that will have people referencing it well after this weekend.
But UFC 168 had lots of great moments…
It did have a lot to offer, but Silva’s leg break made all the brains being turned off earlier on the celebratory night seem tidy and quaint. Even with all the fan furor during the Rousey-Tate 2 co-main event, Silva snapping his leg feels like it eclipsed the entire card.
I’ll try to describe it’s emotive weight.
It was more outrageous than the first audible well-miked fart in the UFC. It was more gruesome than the “0-3, but we’ll still keep him” Bobby Voelker leaking out buckets of blood for well over 10 minutes.
A moment too big for MMA’s britches.
Allow me to be sort of accurate but also sort of a UFC shill for a moment.
During the biggest rematch, on the biggest event of the year, something incredible happened. The greatest of all time, Anderson Silva, threw a kick that snapped his leg and he was carted out of the cage on a stretcher. It was horrific, but it was still so incredible that it had everyone contextualizing it next to the most infamous sports injuries that have ever occurred.
Joe Theismann and Anderson Silva are now irrevocably linked for their spectacular misfortunes. What a thrilling (and, once again, awful) way to cap off 2013.