It was a perfectly normal weigh-in for ex-middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and contender Israel Adesanya as they faced off for their co-headliner at UFC 234.
But for Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC), an underdog for the third straight time in a decorated career, the moment quickly overwhelmed him.
At a time where most headliners test out their most canned statements to a captive audience, Silva broke down into tears when asked by UFC commentator Jon Anik about his title eliminator matchup with Adesanya (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
“Uh,” Silva, 43, said before composing himself. “Thank you guys, thank you. I worked my entire life in this sport, and I tried to do my best. And I say thank you God for giving me one more time … to give a great show for you guys.”
UFC 234 takes place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass.
It sounded an awful lot like a curtain call from a legend of the sport. The raw emotion seemed to carry over to Adesanya, who admits “The Spider” was one of his inspirations for coming into the sport, but expects to show the elder statesman the door to retirement at UFC 234.
(Warning: Video contains some strong language)
“He’s trying to make me cry – (expletive) him,” Adesanya said. “First of all, Melbourne, what’s up? Big shout out to everyone who came from around the world to watch the show. And a special shout out – he’s trying to make me cry for real – to everyone from Auckland that came through. I appreciate you.
“I’m a fan of this man. But just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean he can’t catch these hands, and elbows, and feet, and knees. Tomorrow, we’re going to throw everything in the cage. I’m going to send him off in a nice way. Let’s go.”
And with that, Adesanya brought an abrupt end to one of the more unusual moments in UFC weigh-in history. There’s a lot of clowning around when men step onto a scale in their underwear, and a lot of posturing that does or doesn’t lead to physical altercation. Rarely, though, are there tears.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled routine.