Keeping Score

Anderson Silva’s Broken Leg Was No Freak Accident

UFC violence back in the spotlight

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“Oh my God.”

“Oh my goodness.”

These words, uttered by the announcers calling Saturday night’s highly anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, captured the moment perfectly. Oh. My. God.

In the second round, Silva kicked Weidman with his left leg. Weidman raised his own left leg to block Silva. When the limbs collided, the lower part of Silva’s leg snapped like a stick. That ended the fight, revolted everyone watching it live and ruined Sunday morning for those who caught the clip. Silva went straight into surgery; the career of the UFC’s all-time greatest fighter is now in jeopardy.

Over the past 15 years, the UFC has largely shed its image as “human cockfighting,” the label Senator John McCain once gave mixed martial arts. That comment didn’t stop the UFC’s meteoric climb up the U.S. sports hierarchy. It has largely replaced boxing as the sport that most satisfies our bloodlust.

So this horrific injury is a disaster for the sport. It happened on one of the most important nights in UFC history. This was Silva-Weidman, the sequel, which UFC president Dana White called “the biggest fight we’ve ever done.” Five months ago, Weidman shocked the UFC world by knocking out Silva, who had never lost a UFC bout and was champion for seven years. Fight fans were thirsting for a rematch, and got their wish (one reason to prefer mixed martial arts over boxing: the important fights actually happen. Imagine that, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao).

Plus, the sport’s most ascendant star, Ronda Rousey, was also on the UFC 168 card. She beat rival Miesha Tate earlier in the evening. Rousey surely drew curious eyeballs — eyeballs that wished they were closed for Silva-Weidman.

(MORE: Gruesome Injury Ends UFC Fight)

Picture Joe Theismann breaking his leg against the New York Giants in 1985, but during the Super Bowl, not a regular-season Monday-night game.

Silva’s injury won’t indict MMA. The sport isn’t going to lose its licenses; its popularity won’t suddenly wane. Weidman did not snap Silva’s leg on his own; it felt like a freak accident.

But this incident wasn’t as freaky as, say, Kevin Ware’s. The Louisville guard simply landed on his foot after contesting a jump shot. Next thing you know, a bone was protruding from his skin. That was never supposed to happen.

In MMA, fists and arms and legs are flying. The risk of gruesome injury is raised. Weidman’s striking coach even has a name for his fighter’s move of thrusting a knee into an opponent’s leg kick — “The Destruction.”

Weidman himself doesn’t chalk up the injury to dumb luck. “I don’t think it was accidental when you try to check a kick and it works,” Weidman said, via the Las Vegas Sun. “If I didn’t try to check the kick, I’d have a big bruised leg right now and he’d have picked me apart with leg kicks. You try to check kicks, and that’s what happens.”

Silva’s injury does not make MMA too violent. MMA makes MMA too violent. It was a brutal night, for a brutal game.

MORE: Ronda Rousey, Unplugged

152 comments
jerseycaptain
jerseycaptain

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JoeZuazua
JoeZuazua

oh yeah! can the writer tell us how many deaths the MMA has? how many brain affected warriors it has? I am sure the writer doesn't watch boxing, or for comparison  the UFC on skates ;Hockey the writer must quit his job and become a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant.

dude123
dude123

" too violent" for what?

JohnBlaesel
JohnBlaesel

Ok, the liberal media is doing it's best to get football banned and now they're trying to ban UFC.  What happened to Anderson Silva happens to people skiing or playing baseball or going sledding or playing soccer.  It's not as if Weidman grabbed hold of Silva's leg and snapped it.  He was attempting to block a kick with his knee and the impact broke the kicker's leg.

BenjaminJ.Anderson
BenjaminJ.Anderson

Sean Gregory your a joke. Stop writing stories on sports you don't like, putting subtle little comments to tarnish the sports reputation. Whatever happened to non biased reporting? Get a life mate, start commenting on things you have a clue about.

jowayne
jowayne

no freak accident at all ,low  leg kicks,checked the way the champ chris did can cause a lot of pain for the low kicker or break the leg like it did. it was worked on by chris from the first fight. chris beat silva the whole fight and simply checked one of silvas hard thrown low kicks ,and hes leg snapped. end of story silva was beat up an finished off by a great new champ.nothing else to it

qwertyuiiop
qwertyuiiop

Yeah and bad journalist like you have made me disapprove of where ever you got a degree, that's if you have one, you have just stated an opinion and have given up any ounce of journalism you have. Time.com should fire you just for being so incompetent, go and make some coffee unless you think it leads to an increase in burn victims you dumb ass, you are laughable as a professional in the field of journalism.

goda587
goda587

Over and over again it's been pointed out that MMA is substantially safer to be involved in than numerous popular sports no one complains about such as fishing, cheerleading, football, and boxing: and over and over again, it's been damned as the worst thing in the world.


As Leon Trotsky said, "What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance and savagery!"

ethics22
ethics22

As far as I am concerned; if Weidman trained and or intended to inflict this devastating injury on such an amazing fighter; or any fighter for that matter, he should be stripped of his title, winnings given to Silva and banned from the UFC forever. If it was a "freak accident" then I retract my statement. The UFC commission, Dana White and all officials should review, interview all the fighters, film and interviews regarding this terrible situation.

Maybe I am wrong on this, but if not and the training was specific to inflict this injury then I stand by my opinion. There is so much money, involved that the use of PED's. ruthless tactics are employed for the almighty dollar. Ethics, honesty, fairness take a back seat to money and "art" that used to be involved in "martial arts" is no longer part of this so called sport.

More care and protection of the fighters need to be seriously reevaluated.

MattWest1
MattWest1

I've been involved in martial arts since the age of seven, and it used to be the only legit tests of the fighting aspect of the arts were life or death combat or a street fight.  MMA saved the martial arts.  They gave them a much needed reality check.


The fighters are aware of the risks inherent in the sport when they sign on.  The injury Silva sustained in this fight WAS a freak accident (broken legs are a very unusual injury in the sport.)  The risks involved in MMA are equal to or less than those for say, football or boxing, and are probably comparable to wrestling.  

It IS a violent sport, but it is governed by rules put there to keep fighters as safe as possible, and those fighters love what they do.  The money in MMA isn't so great that a fighter couldn't choose a hundred other jobs more likely to pay his bills.  If you don't like it, don't watch.  

tadchem
tadchem

The theme of this article is not that UFC is violent, it is that Time and the author disapprove of 'violence.' Injuries are a part of the Real world.  My sister broke two leg bones getting out of a car on an icy patch.

Before you can expand your limits you have to find them.

Personally I disapprove of people who think they are qualified to control other people.

HueyStewart
HueyStewart

In the long list of live televised MMA events I believe this has happened TWICE and overall broken bones in a fight are very rare. The NFL loses a player every week seemingly. Time has become so disgustingly sensational that I'm waiting for them to put out a Beautiful People or Swimsuit issue.

ClaudiaLove
ClaudiaLove

Legs break like this in soccer all the time (plenty of YouTube videos of this) and no one makes a big deal about it. Get over it.

TerriWeiss
TerriWeiss

Two adult men who know exactly what can happen. If you don't like it, don't watch.

Bayrude
Bayrude

i think motogp or formula 1 is way more danger than this

jimmyharpoon
jimmyharpoon

People who damn MMA, know nothing about the MMA.  Who do you think defended the tribe fourty thousand years ago? The warriors.

The hunters, as in hunter/gatherer.  Evolution has provided for a "warrior class". Remember, human technology has grown large enough to affect the entire planet. Not possible fourty thousand years ago. But we still think with a hunter/gatherer mind. Our brain has not evolved a lot, if any, in the past fourty thousand years. I think, contemporarily, that the words, athlete and warrior, have the same meaning as does the word "fireman" I believe.

We have to accept that there are athletes who like to fight and provide them with the opportunity to fight under a very safety conscious set of rules.

DougTalbert
DougTalbert

These men are adults, and so are the men and women of every sport mentioned. We dont need to compare sports to justify. These adults have spent countless hours becoming the best, and have the right to do so. If we enjoy watching this profession and they enjoy competing then what is the argument. They know the dangers so let them choose to compete and let us choose to watch..

I hate this limelight focus on injuries being a reason to ban sports. We are free people, and can choose to watch these professionals display their skills!

Oh my God! What is this country coming to. This is their choice of profession and our choice of entertainment. If you dont like it dont watch it. If enough people agree they wont keep it on air.

If you are a die hard humanitarian there are plenty of ways you can help the world where it Is needed! If you want safer sports then work on techniques or gear, such as the new nascar seats that keep drivers necks from breaking. The answer is not taking away their rights to compete.

optinion1
optinion1

"This article is too ignorant to ignore."

That's the point. The article is undebateably click trolling.

Spread the word about Firefox adblockplus or any other form of ad blocker and make sure to blacklist Time. Rest assured, they'll knowingly harm any vulnerable phenomenon for money so you've got zero reason not to harm their income for personal gratification.

HateToSayItbut
HateToSayItbut

Leave it to the masses to turn a simple broken leg into Christians being eaten by lions.

Athlete111
Athlete111

Bottom line - If the fighters are mentally sane adults and VONTARILY step into the ring 'knowing' the potential risks..... it's all good. ....... period.

hockeyshark408
hockeyshark408

the leg break isn't going to do anyting negative for the UFC.Remember tates elbow doing 90 degrees the wrong way? that was just as bad if not a longer event.What happened after??? nothing.with be the same here.just give it a few days.still to close to the fight and doushebags like this writer here is just fluffing it up right now.

JimiSadakiKogura
JimiSadakiKogura

In a sport where the goal is to sacrifice your body in an effort to hurt another human, this type of injury should be expected. What happened to Anderson Silva was something very rare and last year MMA Legend Bas Rutten posted a video about how to not break your shin when throwing a kick < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFsGDlldNTc >.


That's your opinion MMA is "too violent" and I say that it's not as violent as Football. How many Grid iron games have been played where no athlete was injured? There are plenty of nights in MMA where there is no serious injury to any fighter on the card. And there are some studies suggesting that the head trauma caused by punches in MMA are no where as dangerous as concussions suffered by the Linemen of Football who crash their helmets into one another every down of the game. Also, the UFC takes excellent care of the individuals that risk their lives. compare that to the NFL where players were denied their livelihood in 2011 because the owners didn't want to help with future medical bills.


If you want to talk about disgusting aspects in sports, it's not the violence of MMA that's the worse. The worst part of sports is watching the players from the NBA & NFL squander the money they earned because their employers are not properly educating them with basic finance and social skills.


This article is too ignorant to ignore.


jmarty621
jmarty621

Sean Gregory, you don't know anything about MMA. If you want violence, turn on an nfl game, or watch boxing. Watch a guy take a beating round after round, get knocked out several times, and see what happens. At least in MMA, and particularly the UFC, if a guy gets knocked out, the fight is over. I can't believe you even wrote this worthless article. You are a pathetic tool.

GuySmalley
GuySmalley

while leg kicks, leg breaks happen and is a very visual result I suppose the life altering concussions are better because the public doesn't see it. let face it its contact its for warriors who step up to the chanallenge. No one is asking for your permission Sliva & weidman are at thr top of their game the force of the kick that broke silva's leg came from himself meaning he was trying to break weidman's leg they both know it stepping into the cage. The sport is not for everybody but overall two trained mma fighters property referee injurees are kept to a miniun, while the leg break is not fun to watch it is rare if proper tech is used and leg conditioning done. Your story was a weak attempt too grab a headline.

brwellstx
brwellstx

Are you going to write a similar story about how many NFL players receive crippling career ending injuries every week? Or are you just singling out a sport you don't like?

DavidPrince
DavidPrince

What makes this "too violent"? It sounds like it's too violent for you. The martial artists involved are there voluntarily; they aren't Roman slaves forced to be gladiators.

Full contact martial arts matches have been going on for centuries. The only difference now is that the UFC handsomely compensates the participants and the UFC makes the matches readily accessible to those interested in martial arts.

A far higher percentage of professional football players and boxers suffer IRREVERSIBLE brain damage than their peers in the UFC.

david.molesky
david.molesky

This is a poorly written article. You provide no evidence or even basic logic leading towards the title of your article. You seem to just string sentences together and throw in random hyperbole. 


What point are you trying to make with your Theismann analogy? That an injury during a championship event is less accidental? More revolting? 


There have been substantially more broken legs in soccer than in MMA. Do you think that's a freak accident? You claim "The risk of gruesome injury is raised" but I'd like to see you find some evidence of that other than your already flawed reasoning ability. 


I think you should take a close look at the injury rates for other sports before you make inflammatory claims that appear solely for the purpose of getting cheap website views.


I'm all for an open discussion about preventing injury in sport but one that is based on evidence and facts. The recovery time for Anderson Silva's injury is less than that of an ACL tear, one of the most common injuries in sports. The only reason this has the attention is does is because it's so visual. It's "Tabloid Worthy" much like your terrible article.


The fact that you write for Time magazine is an embarrassment. 



RogerCritic
RogerCritic

"Silva’s injury does not make MMA too violent. MMA makes MMA too violent."

What a silly statement. The risks faced by mixed martial artists are almost exactly the same as those faced by boxers and those involved in other combat sports. Even professional wrestling has a far worse record of injuries than MMA. 


Get back to me when you have the slightest idea about the sport...You mainstream news sources are only good for click baiting non-pieces. Stick to football.

KimberleyLuoto
KimberleyLuoto

The injury to Silva sucks.  But that's the risk of contact sports.  And let's be honest.....it's why we watch.  

PabloskySalamancaMusico
PabloskySalamancaMusico

Ok, im going to be straight here. Im a MMA fan, i love martial arts. I buy UFC PPV events on a regular basis. And i do my research on this sport (meaning, Pride, Wec, Strikeforce, bellator, etc).

Saturday's night fight was something disgusting. Im a A. Silva Fan, i really wanted that the spider take back his belt and ive lost 3 bet in a couple of MMA forums.

You dont want a fight like that and if you actually enjoy what happened in UFC 168 you're done. Just like A. Silva's career. 

Personally, as a MMA fan dont want that kinda brutality on the sport, but i have to asume the hard side of the truth: This sport is too much for me. Im quitting MMA for a time because i dont pay 20 dollars to watch bloodbath or this kind of injury. I pay for a combat sport, fully regulated and the technique involved. But seems this is part of the business... too bad for me... ITS NOT FUN TO WATCH ANOTHER MAN SUFFERING.



JohnBlaesel
JohnBlaesel

@goda587Perhaps the author of this article should realize that people break legs while cheer-leading too!  So why doesn't he write about the brutality of cheer-leading!?

Augustine
Augustine

@ethics22

So Weidman cannot "intentionally" block a leg kick if he knows that it could possibly break the leg of the kicker?  That's ridiculous,  Like he said,  “If I didn’t try to check the kick, I’d have a big bruised leg right now and he’d have picked me apart with leg kicks."

JoeZuazua
JoeZuazua

@tadchem , maybe the writer could  report on patty cake as a non violent sport, or pulling the daisy's  petals ; loves me , loves me not, loves me , loves me not, those activities are non violent and will fit this writer for reporting, uh?

odenrocks
odenrocks

@hockeyshark408 Just to add: Corey Hill also broke his leg in the exact same manner. Came back after a 2 year recovery to compete again.

VoxyBrown
VoxyBrown

@GuySmalleyI dunno Guy, it doesn't look too weak to me. It's the most popular headline on Time.com right now.

PartisanPat
PartisanPat

@RogerCritic It's not almost exactly the same; boxing is far more dangerous. 

There were 339 deaths due to head injury in boxing between 1950 and 2007 according to a study published Nov 2010 in Neurosurgery.  

The most recent death was just a couple months ago: Francisco Leal in Oct 2013

InL0vingM3mOry
InL0vingM3mOry

@PabloskySalamancaMusicoWow, a broken leg affected you that much? You don't mind seeing someone have their face smashed in though, right? Maybe you should grow up and realize it's a very real sport with real pain, not a movie. Separated the wheat from the chaff on Saturday didn't we.

jmendoza.trulia
jmendoza.trulia

@PabloskySalamancaMusico its part of the sport bro. that didnt happen on purpose. no one was going in there wanting to be hurt like that. it's part of the agreement they make before they get in there. it's a tough sport and you are fighting the best of the best. we have came along way from the UFC1 days. dont lose hope. we need our fans to stick through the hard times. it's taken alot to get to this point.

GuySmalley
GuySmalley

@VoxyBrown @GuySmalley so popular means its right? its fair? balance? its why time has gone down hill if they really wanted to do a sports injury story do one about injuries that matter like brain trauma not a broken leg

MarkJensen
MarkJensen

Apparently Time has no soldiers to hang.

VoxyBrown
VoxyBrown

A major difference between figure skating and MMA is that in figure skating, the ice isn't trying to injure the skater.

Intent makes a difference.

GuySmalley
GuySmalley

@VoxyBrown well i am old school then I like honesty in headlines but if short term gains are what you want thats a way to get them. But when you consider the same injury happens in figure skating etc UFC is no more violent than any other contact sport. In fact its Brain trauma that should be the topic but see how that gets killed by the powers to be imo

VoxyBrown
VoxyBrown

I didn't say it's right, fair, or balanced.

I said it doesn't look like "a weak attempt to grab a headline".

He grabbed it. It's getting hits, it's being viewed. In journalism, that's how points are scored. And this headline scored them.

I'm saying that by journalistic standards, it isn't a weak attempt.

That's all.

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