Just like UFC 151 will be remembered the event that Jon Jones and Greg Jackson killed, UFC 97 is remembered as the event Anderson Silva and Thales Leites ruined. Now Anderson admits he wasn’t going for the finish in that fight, and the reason is going to totally blow your mind:
“There’s no such thing as holding back. I want to finish as soon as possible,” said Silva in a recent interview with TATAME. “The only time I did it was because he was a friend of mine. It was against Thales Leites. We went until the last round because he’s a friend of mine and I respect him.”
Anderson might want to reconsider his notions of friendship. The two went five terrible, tentative rounds in what you have to be generous to classify as a fight. This was the first time Anderson clowned an entire fight, and boy were people confused / pissed off. Both Silva and Leites were given media workovers that make the latest Jon Jones controversy look like a blowover event. Silva was able to weather the storm and went on to fuck up UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, embarrassing the UFC in front of their new Sultan sugardaddies.
Leites, the slightly less insulated party in the UFC 97 mess, fared worse. After a bullshit split decision loss to Alessio Sakara at UFC 101 he was unceremoniously cut from the roster. From fighting for the world middleweight championship to roughing it in the Canadian minor leagues, all in the span of one fight. Plus, that look of disgust in the eyes of fans when you bring up his name? Yeah, that’s because they remember him butt-flopping his way through the Anderson Silva fight.
So next time Anderson fights a friend, maybe he wants to consider trying to put them out of their misery quickly? He’d be doing them a favor. Really.