Anderson Silva’s sixth title defense was a “disgrace” and an “embarrassment,” according to UFC President Dana White.
Silva earned a universally panned unanimous decision against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Demian Maia at UFC 112 Saturday in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., in a bout that never went to the canvas. With the victory, the 34-year-old Brazilian topped UFC records for most consecutive wins (11) and consecutive title defenses (6). However, those accolades were the farthest thought from White’s mind as he spoke about the main event at the post-fight press conference.
“I don’t think I’ve been more embarrassed in the 10 years of being in this business,” said White. “It’s the first I’ve ever walked out on a main event, given the belt to the guy’s manager and told him to put it on him.”
Silva has received criticism in the past for his tepid title defenses against the likes of Patrick Cote and Thales Leites, who Silva also decisioned in lackluster fashion at UFC 97 last April in Montreal.
However, Silva, speaking through his translator and manager Ed Soares, said on Saturday that he’d accomplished what he’d set out to do.
“Unfortunately, not every fight turns out the way that everyone would like,” said Silva. “I came here well trained, but Demian disrespected me, not as a person, but he disrespected me as a fighter and I take that very seriously. I came here to do my job and that was to beat him up and punish him and that’s exactly what I did.”
When asked what Maia had done to disrespect him, Silva alluded to pre-fight comments Maia had allegedly made that crossed the lines of Brazilian jiu-jitsu etiquette.
“I’m not too sure what school Demian came from, but I sent a message because I think he disrespected me morally by the things he said,” said Silva. “…I’m a black belt and I’ve never stepped into the ring and disrespected anyone verbally before the fight and said the things he said.”
Silva said he would have finished the fight if given the opportunity, but that his main goal was to “make my opponent feel very vulnerable in everything that I did.”
White, in obvious frustration, said he wasn’t pleased with Silva’s showboating in the first and second rounds, where the Brazilian crescendoed into slapping the Octagon canvas to get Maia to engage the champion in the way he wanted him to.
Maia, in his eighth UFC appearance, didn’t bite at Silva’s repeated invitations to move in closer for exchanges, which could have made Maia a target for Silva’s favored counter-striking. In later rounds, it was Maia, with his left eye swollen shut from Silva’s selective handiwork, who initiated exchanges with the champion, though the 32-year-old fighter never put Silva in any serious harm.
White apologized to the fans for the bout and promised that he’d find a way to make it up to the ones that “bought this s--t tonight.”
“Nobody had been more supportive of Anderson Silva than me, talking about him being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” said White. “Even after a couple goofy performances, I’ll call them, I still stood behind him and supported him…If you’re that talented, be Mike Tyson. Go in and finish it.”