There were a lot of adjectives used to describe the gruesome broken left leg suffered by Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 168 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden.
Brutal. Disturbing. Troubling. Stomach-churning.
All are quite accurate.
Chris Weidman, who retained the middleweight title when Silva suffered the injury in the second round, wanted to make sure “freak accident” wasn’t part of that list.
While he said he didn’t intend to hurt Silva and never did anywhere near that type of damage using the technique on training partners, Weidman made clear checking Silva’s leg kicks was very much a part of his game plan coming into the fight.
Weidman felt Silva had hurt him with leg kicks during their first fight in July when Weidman took the title from the longtime champion with a second-round knockout. For the rematch, Weidman worked extensively on trying to get his knee up to connect with Silva’s shin when he attempted leg kicks in hopes that he would stop trying them.
Even though Weidman said his coach Ray Longo had broken someone’s leg in the gym in the same manner, he didn’t expect to end the fight with the technique.
“It’s not really going shin-to-shin, but getting your knee on the shin. I’ve done it in sparring with some hard kickers to let them know not to kick me anymore,” Weidman said. “Their legs didn’t break, but they would either take a minute to walk it off or they wouldn’t be kicking me as much. It’s something I’ve definitely been working on, thanks to Longo.
“Even though you do it with that intention, you don’t want to see somebody get seriously hurt like that.”
Weidman said he ran through several emotions immediately after feeling Silva’s shin connect to his knee and then watching him go down in a heap while screaming and grabbing his left leg.
“It’s over. I won. Awesome,” Weidman said of his first thought. “Then you start thinking about Anderson and kinda feel bad for him.”
He went on to reiterate his feeling that Silva is still the “greatest ever.”
UFC president Dana White called it, along with a similar injury to Corey Hill in 2008, the worst thing he has seen happen during one of his events.
According to a statement released by the UFC early Sunday morning, Silva underwent surgery at a Las Vegas hospital for a broken tibia. He also broke the fibula, but that injury was stabilized and will not require further surgery.
Silva remains in the hospital after having an intramedullary rod inserted into the left tibia. Recovery time is expected to be anywhere from three to six months.
“Anderson is deeply touched by the outpouring of support from his fans and the entire MMA community,” the statement read. “There has been no immediate decision about his future, and he would kindly ask for privacy at this time as he deals with his injury and prepares to return home to recover.”
White also refused to speculate on the future of the 38-year-old Silva.
“It’s a (expletive) way to see him go out, but it’s part of the game,” White said. “I don’t want to count him out. I don’t want to count him in. It’s really not the most important thing right now.”
What’s next for Weidman will be a fight against top contender Vitor Belfort. No date has been announced for the fight and it may be some time before it’s set. Weidman said he needs to have his knee examined after it was bothersome throughout training camp.
Belfort said he is willing to fight whenever and wherever the fight happens. He just wants the belt.
“What I want is on the hands of Chris Weidman,” Belfort said.
Women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who also retained her belt with a third-round armbar submission win over arch-rival Miesha Tate, will be back in action very soon.
White unveiled a poster during Saturday night’s postfight news conference featuring Rousey and Sara McMann, who will now fight in the main event of UFC 170 on Feb. 22 at Mandalay Bay.
Cat Zingano was expected to be the next challenger in line to face Rousey, but she won’t be ready to begin training until March and Rousey is looking to return to action quickly.
“I’d taken such a long time off that I wanted to fight again soon,” Rousey said. “I don’t want to sit on the shelf. I’m in the best shape of my life, so it’s the perfect time to go back-to-back. I’m still hungry and that’s what I want to do. Hopefully I’ll have another good show for you guys very soon.”
While Rousey is an Olympic medalist in judo, McMann won an Olympic silver in wrestling. She could very well provide the toughest challenge yet to Rousey’s undefeated run.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.