Sunday, July 7, 2013

Facile reporting interpretations of Silva vs. Weidman

I also find it very interesting how superficial the fight analysis is - no one is really saying that Silva put his hands down for a reason, to help him sprawl out against Weidman's shot.  When Silva had his hands up, Weidman took him down.  When Silva had his hands down, he was able to sprawl out from the shot.  It's the dilemma that a striker fights a grappler.  If a striker unloads on the grappler, they've basically got one chance to win - a "puncher's chance".  Alternately, they can try to develop a strategy to stop the takedown from happening.  Silva did something he'd done before, something he did against Chael Sonnen and Forrest Griffin.  Put your hands down to push against the shoulders of a wrestler coming in for the shoot while trying to goad them into a fist fight.

They are also saying that Silva was arrogant (someone even used hubris) in the fight.  It wasn't arrogance on Silva's part.  He had done this very successfully in the past.  (And with middling results, too.  Demian Maia and Thales Leites refused to fall into the trap, which gave us weird, boring fights with Silva clowning to the point of absurdity.)  The difference between the clowning with Demian Maia, Thales Leites, Chael Sonnen and Forrest Griffin is that Chris Weidman has knockout power.  This dude hits hard, he can knock dudes out.  But the strategy Silva used he used against other fighter's, too, guys who definitely had the ability to beat him, like Sonnen.

Almost no one seems to have seen this.  It's the mystique of Silva.  The UFC has told us so often, it's been a constant loop, that Anderson Silva is an unbeatable killing machine, the greatest fighter of all time, blah, blah, blah.  This mystique has been a tremendous boon to Silva's career but as a result we don't really talk about the giant hole in Silva's game - wrestling - and how really good takedowns and a really good takedown defense change a fight.  We talk about it all the time with other fighters.  GSP fights a great striker, they frequently aren't that great because they're always worried about the takedown.  Or how Johny Hendricks can really swing bombs at dudes because he's so hard to take down.  Likewise, it is taken as normal when a very good striker fights a takedown artist that the striker's striking is going to be messed up.  This dilemma is well-known and well understood.  It's why Sonnen did as well with the striking as he did against Silva, it's why Weidman knocked Silva out, it's why Silva didn't put away Maia and Leites.  But to mention such things is to ice skate uphill against the UFC hype machine who has presented Silva as immune to the normal forces that shape fights.

Of course, it is no news to me that reporters suck.  Most of my posts are about how badly reporters suck, one way or the other.  You're probably not going to get very far as an MMA writer if you critique the UFC's hype machine.  Since almost no one wants to talk about the extent to which they are effected by advertising, to go against the UFC's hype machine is to align yourself against ideas that have been internalized not only by the audience but by other writers and editors of MMA journals.  You're stuck, like me, out here in the fringe.

No comments:

Post a Comment