Belfort: “The First Thing You Learn Is Respect”

Belfort: “The First Thing You Learn Is Respect”


“The first thing you learn is respect. Your opponent across the other side of the mat, the Octagon, he is the most important person in that moment for you, because that’s the person who makes you compete, who gives you the pleasure to entertain people, but I see martial arts not just from an entertainment side. I see it as a sport and as a sport, like in NBA, NFL we have a code of conduct and that’s something that the UFC, we need to start having that. I think he really didn’t have any conduct on this fight. He acted inappropriately and it wasn’t the first time, so I hope this will be the last time that he does.”

Those are the post-fight thoughts of Vitor Belfort on Anderson Silva’s ring generalship, this past weekend.

Although the words are not a stinging rebuke and could well be scoffed at by Silva fans and “Phenom” haters alike, Vitor Belfort’s words may well carry weight in another area and echo the sentiments of “The Spider’s” fans, even if they were not intended to do so.

Belfort sees Silva’s actions in the Octagon as disrespecting his opponent.

I respectfully disagree and I do so, because I think Vitor is using the word “respect” in the wrong context.

A fight is not a dojo honor match and once the gloves have been touched or not touched and the fight starts, respect should be thrown out the door. All who doubt, I proffer Hughes / GSP (UFC 50, 2004) as an example of what I mean.  

There is no place for respect in a fight other than the fact that your opponent might beat you.

The lack of respect that Silva demonstrated on Saturday night was one of a complete lack of it for a world class fighter being able to catch him.

As Chael Sonnen commented on “Fuel TV”:

“You cannot be cocky and stick to the basic at the same time. You can’t be arrogant and keep your hands up at the same time. A 38-year-old man is not going to out speed a 29-year-old.”

That in a nutshell sums it up. The Spider went out there and played a game of chicken with his hands down and he got caught.

It is this lack of respect, of fighting with his hands down and not the taunting of Weidman, that was the “real” disrespect and what has drawn the (legitimate) criticism and even from Silva’s own fans. In many of their opinions, it’s even become the (unofficial) “excuse” for the loss.

To the taunting itself and even his “chicken dance”, these are tactics to Anderson and always have been. They are his bread and butter and the tools that have wowed fans for years. He simply got carried away with them and not in an insulting way to Weidman, but rather a “fighting stupid” way  and for his own protection.

In the end, the real disrespect that Silva showed on Saturday night was to himself, his chin and his belt and Chris Weidman couldn’t have been insulted by it, because he was the benefactor of it.     

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  • Kevin

    I agree with what Vitor says, martial arts is about respect and integrity. Anderson is a different cat though, he is the Ali of MMA, he replicates his fighting style off Ali, Roy Jones, and Bruce Lee. Two of which were both show boaters in the Ring…and by doing so cemented themselves as some of the best to ever enter by taking opponents out of their realm.

    GSP has the same standpoint as Vitor, and has made himself an ambassador of the sport by living what he preaches. I watched an interview with Frank Mir and he had mentioned his son asking himself who he should be like, and Mir replied, "GSP"

    End of the day Anderson got caught which is bound to happen to anyone in a contest involving 4 or 6 ounce gloves. His ability to show boat is what puts fans in the stands, and allows him to entertain to the level he does.

    • dropkickmurphy

      I think that greatness tends to give a fighter a feeling of invincibility. Anderson had done this dozens of times, He let Bonner punch him in the face.
      Is this so different then Fedor jumping into Werdum's guard? He had done it dozens of times. He never got caught. He wasn't trying to lose, and neither was Silva. They rolled the dice too many times. It wasn't luck, it was odds.

  • therumblemma

    Nope, the first thing you learn is not respect …. It's actually keeping your hands up (ask any 3 year old Mma toddler) Apperantly Anderson thinks this dosent apply to him. Bet Steven seagal dosent take credit for this one.

    • Kevin

      pffft….Segal obviously told him to throw the fight. Biggest beauty in the league!

  • enjoylife321

    The only person that Silva disrespected was himself. He now has to live with the criticism of fans, media and his countrymen. Weidman was getting pissed off but this was all part of the masterplan that fell apart. Unfortunately for Silva he forgot he is not invincible. He took it 1000 steps too far.

    Being disrespectful to opponent is greasing up, low blows to the groin, holding the fence and general cheating.

    The only thing Silva is guilty of is being cocky. He didnt steal Weidman's wallet, he didn't sleep with his wife, nor did he do anything in the fight that would be considered cheating.
    He just made a fool of himself.

    Weidman should send silva a bottle of wine, a thank you card and a large bag of ice.

    • Brian Cox

      hmm….Sharp or funny? Sharp or funny?

      I think he was guilty of being overly-cocky.

      I think it's really hard to criticize him for being cocky, because that's his game and he's brilliant at it. The problem for Anderson, is that Chris Weidman isn't Griffin or Bonnar or Irvin or Cote or all the other guys that had nothing at all to offer him, particularly belief that they could beat him, the talent to do it, no fear of him and an indomitable will.

      I believe Chris has been in his head for a long time and all the positive talk from fighters and the media fed into it (in his head) and in that first round, when Chris just got him down, was beating him up on the ground and then turned around and went for a ankle-lock, which is something he probably wasn't expecting, I think right then and there, that Silva's biggest fears were well founded.

      I think he knew he was in trouble and that he thought if he went to the showboating something magical would happen. That Chris would get caught chasing him or out of position or something and that would be it. However, he never did or was.

      I know one thing for sure, I've never seen Silva either hit that much or miss that much, in a fight. It's amazing how many times Weidman put his gloves on his face and how many times Silva missed when swinging; hand or foot.

      Comes back hungry, rested, trained, Zenned out, whatever, I'll pick Chris again. I think he's got Anderson's number.

      Vitor…hmm….VB is a different question. From what we've seen of Vitor these days. Chris would be wise to put him down on the ground, as opposed to trade with the man.

      • enjoylife321

        @Brian…………Silva is in no mans land right now. Nike must be thinking train wreck, lets put him in one of our chinese sweat factories as punishment.

        I'll be devastated if we never see him fight again because I want to see what this champion is made of when adversity strikes hard. Maybe silva will come back with the composure and emotion of Fedor Emelianenko?

        I would have loved to have seen the superfight but lets face it, the UFC missed the boat entirely with that one. Even if Silva didn't clown around there was a strong chance Weidman could win the fight just as Chael sonnen almost did in the first fight. Next time Dana says superfight " I want everyone to scream WOLF"

        Despite the craziness in the cage, everyone was entertained until the moment he got layed out like new carpet. Despite the recklessness fans can be happy that they didn't get a Machida Dragon marathon.

        I never thought the day would come where Anderson's name would be associated with clown. His next fight is the most important in his career.

        • Brian Cox

          I agree with all of that, but one thing I'd say about NIKE…anyone over at NIKE who thinks Anderson's cachet has dropped should be fired; on the spot. I'd say the same thing to Burger KIng execs.

          Anderson is still the #1 guy in terms of fear, dominance, record, showmanship and maybe the biggest smile, in all of MMA. I don't think 1 loss has eroded that at all and certainly not, when a huge chunk of the MMA world believe he lost because of this or that reason, but and perhaps, not because Weidman is better or that much better than Silva.

          I think the jury is still out on this one and will remain so, until the re-match.

          Woe, unto any marketing directors at NIKE or any other corporation, that might see it otherwise.

          • enjoylife321

            @Brian…When Tiger woods drove his 5 iron into 18 holes, Nike stuck with him. I suspect Burger King and Nike will probably up his contract with all the new exposure and hype around him and the loss…

  • docedoce

    Vitor still mad because Anderson gave him athlete's foot on his mouth. Quit your TRT Rage.

    • Brian Cox

      Doc…now that was funny, man.

  • PukeVomit

    here we go…vitor and his storys about respect, god and lions….

    • Brian Cox

      PV…here we go with Vitor's 4 fight (devastatingly so) win streak @ 185, post his loss to Silva and his legitimate right to a title shot.

  • greeneyeleo

    You guys ever see that gif of Vitor getting kicked in the face and then immediately showing a guy with his exact same profile licking some girl's foot ***** style- OMG, I laughed until I was in tears. Let me know if you want me to post it, you won't be disappointed.

    • greeneyeleo

      They blocked "P O R N 0"? Really

  • TheRealDeal

    Sharp to Belfort who normally sounds ridiculous when he speaks, but he is right on point with his comments about Silva…..