The first blows of Anderson Silva’s UFC 148 bout against Chael Sonnen were delivered over 24 hours prior to the first bell. During last Friday’s weigh-in the Middleweight Champion, after months of heated verbal exchanges, caught Sonnen with a stiff shoulder to the jaw line.
While addressing the audience in the minutes that followed, Sonnen could briefly be seen manipulating his jaw, as though he was working out some kind of stiffness. Silva would go on to decisively defend his title via second round TKO; however, his antics at the previous day’s weigh-in did not go unnoticed.
Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was quick to warn the champ that such missteps would not be taken lightly in the future. Said Kizer:
“If someone can’t behave themselves or follow those rules before the fight starts what are they going to do when the fight actually starts? That was always the point with the whole Mike Tyson situation. The guy couldn’t control his temper. Of course, we saw the one incident when he bit off an ear. This (Silva-Sonnen) doesn’t rise to that level.”
Fortunately the second meeting between Silva and Sonnen was free of any Tyson-like extracurriculars or misconduct, apart from what appeared to be Silva rubbing Vaseline off of his face and onto his body prior to the fight and a brief instance of grabbing Sonnen’s shorts.
And by all accounts the athletic commission’s message was fully received. There is no word yet as to how the UFC intends to address the issue; however, early indications are that there will be some sort of internal review of Silva’s actions.
In the aftermath of the fight, Kizer reportedly told Silva, “If you ever do anything like this again, that’s it for you in Nevada. You’ll be fighting your fights elsewhere.” Whether or not such a warning is to be taken at face value is up for debate; but never the less it’s one which Anderson Silva should undoubtedly take to heart.