If you didn’t notice today is a celebration of yesterday’s anniversaries. With sports still not back in full swing ESPN and Bleacher Report are running out of fantasy sports movie tournament ideas and NBA draft classes to regrade so they’re moving onto the next best thing, today in history.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 28, 2020
I remember this happening about a year before I really sunk my teeth into the UFC. This was back when the UFC would have a 3 fight main card and 50 different plugs in between fights for MANswers, Blade The Animated Series or A 1000 Ways To Die. Simpler times for UFC fans.
But it’s funny to look back on these barebones cards because now the thought of only seeing 3 fights in 2 hours and the other 8-10 fights being untelevised is unheard of. The only way you could even sniff an undercard fight was if that fight had a brain rattling KO, a bone breaking submission otherwise you’re buying a subscription to UFC TV.
This fight card (UFC Fight Night Rashad Evans vs Sean Salmon from 2007) is a perfect example of just how far we’ve come since the dark ages. This card had 3 main card fights stretched across 2 hours with 1 undercard fight thrown in because 2/3 of the main card didn’t see the scorecards. The pacing was truly horrible back in the day.
I remember there being a particular unaired undercard fight that was labeled “the bloodiest fight in UFC history” on MMA forums and it was hardly watched by anyone because the UFC decided never to air it. The only thing evidence Sherdog users had to backup their “bloodiest fight” claim was this photo.
That’s a lot of blood! Are you now wondering what caused them to paint the octagon red? No problem Branders I got you!
As I said before it’s probably crazy for current fans to think about not seeing every fight on a card considering they air live on ESPN+ or are plugged on social media to lure people into buying the PPV, but that’s how it was for fans 14 years ago.
Oh yeah Anderson Silva’s KO of Chris Leben was the entire reason for me to write this blog so I should probably talk about that a bit. This fight kicked off the start of the “Silva era” which is arguably the best run in UFC history. Sure the competition may have been lacking at times (James Irvin, Thales Leites) but 16 straight wins and a title reign lasting 2,457 days is something we probably won’t ever see again. Leading up to the fight Silva had a mixed bag of results between PRIDE and some smaller organizations and was really only known to hardcore fans. Chris Leben on the other hand was coming off of his TUF 1 stint and had favorable placements on Fight Night Cards which made him a hit with the mainstream fans. Most casual fans knew Leben as a iron chinned KO artist, but if those same fans did some research on Anderson Silva they’d know he was a KO artist in his own right. Silva’s most famous pre UFC KO would have to (officially) be his knockout of Tony Fryklund at Cage Rage 16 back in April of 2006.
A close second may be Silva’s flying knee KO of Carlos Newton at Pride 25 in 2003.
So yeah anyone expecting Leben to wipe the floor with Silva was a complete fucking idiot in retrospect.
Obviously we know how the fight played out and it’s kind of sad to go back and watch these fights given how poorly Silva has fought lately due to Father Time catching up with him and oh yeah him breaking his fucking leg.
So if there’s one thing I want the Branders to takeaway from the blog it’s this. Next time you want to complain about the over saturation of fights just remember that’s a problem 2006-2010 Chavy along with many other UFC fans would’ve loved to have. Also if you can legally (or illegally I won’t tell) check out some of the mid to late 2000’s UFC fights. There’s some crazy moments that you wouldn’t believe happened if I told you about them.
Until the next time big sports anniversary this is Chavy saying…
Featured Image via Vimeo (LINK)
Bloody fight picture via Pure Evil MMA (LINK)
Spider Silva Elbow KO GIF via GFyCat (LINK)
Spider Silva Flying Knee KO GIF via MMAMania (LINK)
Sign out GIF via Giphy (LINK)