Did Anderson Silva fight dirty at UFC 148?

by Kirik Jenness | source: The Underground

The beginning of the end was vintage Anderson Silva, avoiding a ferocious jab and spinning elbow like a scene out of The Matrix.

Then came the flying knee to a grounded Sonnen.

The fight ended shortly thereafter.

Tracy Lee managed to catch the moment of impact. It had appeared to many to be to the face, an illegal attack on a downed opponent.

While the point of the knee clearly drove into Sonnen's chest, some part of the knee also appeared to connect with Sonnen's head, but perhaps without significant impact. However, in determining the legality of a strike, referees are instructed to assess the responsibility of BOTH parties.

For example, if a punch is thrown, and would have hit clean at the moment it was launched, but the defensive fighter turns and is thus hit on the back of the head, the blow is not illegal. That is the case here. When the knee was initiated, its path was to a legal target. To the extent that Sonnen was struck in the face, it is because he leaned into it.

Another factor is holding the fence. Under the Unified Rules, the hand can be placed on the fence, but the fingers cannot extend through, changing the play of the game. There is a degree of ambiguity on that score, with some observers seeing the fingers through the fence as steading Silva, and thus aiding the knee, while others see it only as being placed on the fence without the fingers reaching through to effect.

“You know, he got me with a good shot,” Sonnen told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan immediately after the fight. “I was on the ground and he got me with a good knee; other than that, I’m just going to have to look at the tape.”

Yves Lavigne, one of the best in the business, called the attack legal.

The controversial technique started at the weigh ins, where Silva, incensed by months of goading by Sonnen, shoulder bumped the Gangster from Oregon in the face.


Before the fight even began, Silva clearly wiped his hands over the legally applied grease on his face, and then wiped his chest, something he has done previously:

An alert Lavigne intervened, and towelled off Silva before the fight began.

The first round was a repeat of the first fight (sans Triangle), with Sonnen manhandling Silva, ending the round in full mount on the Brazilian black belt.

The second round was different. Silva landed to Sonnen's face, and the fight turned around abruptly.

However, the standing portion of the fight was marred by unfortunate tactics, including blatant holding of the shorts.

Tim Kennedy summed up the feelings of many, via Twitter.

"Wipe grease on your arms, grab your opponent shorts, and knee them in the face when they are down. That's how champions should act?"

Anderson Silva is the greatest pound for pound fighter in the sport, maybe ever.

After the fight was over he gave a magnanimous speech to the crowd, exhorting his countrymen not to boo, to show that Brazilians understand respect. He even gave Sonnen an invite to come over for a BBQ, putting months or harsh talk to needed rest.

But did Anderson Silva fight dirty at UFC 148

And does it matter?


tags: UFC 148   Anderson Silva (detail)  Chael Sonnen (detail)     


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Recent Comments »

Diesel67 site profile image  

7/10/12 2:46 PM by Diesel67

 As long as you have those open-fingered gloves you're going to have eye pokes, and it's impossible to tell, without slo-mo replay, if it's intentional or not.  As long as the head is a moving target, you're going to have shots aimed for the side of the head strike the back.  As long as there's a fence, fighters will grab it for leverage.  It's instinct.  As long as shots to the inner thigh are legal, some will strike the groin.  Just let it all hang out and may the best man win. TTT for real man-to-man no holds or hits barred fighting.

UGCTT_molsonmuscle360 site profile image  

7/10/12 1:18 PM by UGCTT_molsonmuscle360

 I'm not a fan of either guy really.  But I have always been annoyed by the fact that barely anyone ever mentions the fact he greases before every single fight, to the point that even Kizer mentioned it to Dana or Joe Silva this weekend.  However, I do think that was a legal knee,  I first thought it was illegal watching it live, but after the replay Chael basically blocked the thigh to the face, but on another note with that Chael probably could have got a DQ win there if he didn't try to block it, the leg would have hit him square in the jaw at that point.  I don't think Silva should have any kind of punishment for this fight, he just needs to be watched a little more in the future.  The greasing was caught, both fighters grabbed shorts, and the knee ended up being legal, whether that was the intention or not. 

WatchinMMA site profile image  

7/10/12 1:15 PM by WatchinMMA

I really really disagree Kirk. All that was dirty was one short grab which is super common in mma and chael did it too. If silva wanted to he could have put that knee right through Chanel's head but he decided to fight clean here

KingofBJJ site profile image  

7/10/12 1:10 PM by KingofBJJ

This thread: FAIL

Diesel67 site profile image  

7/10/12 11:21 AM by Diesel67

 Enough of the whining, girls.  It's not pattacake.  It's a FIGHT.  Stuff happens.  The better man won in the cage, and that's where fights should be decided.  By fighters.  Not by commissions and lawyers. You want shorts grabbing - How's this from Pele-Macaco 2?  

aaroncev site profile image  

7/10/12 10:51 AM by aaroncev

The greasing and blatant shorts grabbing took away from the victory imo. (Saying that as a hug AS fan)

Kirik site profile image  

7/10/12 10:43 AM by Kirik

 Chael Sonnen's trash talk made Anderson Silva millions. It was awesome. Then in 15 seconds on the mic, the champion ended any bad feelings with a few kind words. It was a beautiful moment. Brazilians call what we call soccer O Jogo Bonito, The Beautiful Game. Anderson Silva is capable of the most beautiful MMA game I have ever seen, and man I have seen a lot. Silva is the best fighter in MMA, maybe ever, but I think he fought dirty, and he didn't need to.

swany site profile image  

7/10/12 9:57 AM by swany

I can't believe how much everyone is blowing up because Anderson wiped some vas and held sonnnens shorts and branding him a cheater against I gauy that has verbally attacked his family and just talked trash for 2 years , oh I almost forgot that sonnen has been found of being a laundering and Trt cheat ...sonnen go what he deserves and that's why he hasn't complained

UGCTT_Winnson site profile image  

7/10/12 3:34 AM by UGCTT_Winnson

This is the place to be asking questions like this, not just being happy that the fighter you wanted to won and telling the losers to suck it.Great thread.

crazydave site profile image  

7/10/12 3:14 AM by crazydave

 I miss vale tudo