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UFC Atlantic City, The Morning After: Chris Weidman, legalized eye pokes, and the cruel hand of fate


I’m a little worried about Chris Weidman’s future.

Back in 2021, Chris Weidman suffered a grotesque leg break in the opening seconds of his rematch with Uriah Hall. Recovering from that shattered limb has been the story of Weidman’s career ever since. For the first time since August 2020, Weidman was able to pick up the victory over Bruno Silva last night (Sat. March 30, 2024) at UFC Atlantic City. More importantly, he was able to complete a fight without suffering some kind of miserable injury in the process.

In most ways, it’s an objective victory for Weidman. His hand was raised in front of a home town crowd. At 40 years of age, he fought well and fought hard to secure the win. Really, everything else is secondary.

So why am I so apprehensive?

I have two explanations, the illogical and the reasonable. The former is more interesting, so let’s start there: I’m concerned the MMA Gods have already smote Chris Weidman once, and that they’re now certain to do it again.

Think about it: Weidman scores a massive victory by shattering Anderson Silva’s leg with a check and celebrates while “The Spider” is shrieking in pain. Nearly a decade later, it’s him on the floor with the exact same injury. It’s some kind of punishment from an ancient myth or morality play. How else would one man be involved in two of the four shin shatters in UFC history? There have been thousands of fights and thousands of fighters; the odds are ridiculous.

Now, Weidman is playing the same game with eye pokes. He eye poked Bruno Silva no less than four times in a 12 minute fight. Twice, the action was paused due to eye pokes, yet no points were taken. After those pauses and several warnings, Weidman continued to reach out for his opponent’s gloves with his fingers extended.

In the finishing sequence, Weidman managed to poke BOTH of his opponent’s eyes! The 1-2 eye poke! It’s almost unfathomable. Then, he was briefly awarded a knockout win that was later knocked down to a technical decision.

Silva got absolutely f—ked. Weidman didn’t lose any points despite all the fouls. Silva wasn’t given any time to recover, nor did he have the final three minutes of the fight to score a comeback knockout … something he’s achieved before and Weidman has suffered before! It’s an abject failure of the officiating crew, and just as a side note, Sedrique Dumas also lost via legalized eye poke!

Based on the leg break precedent, MMA God mythology dictates that at some point in the near future, Weidman will have his eyes gouged or at the very least be screwed by officiating.

On a more serious and realistic note: Weidman is going to walk away from this win confident (or delusional). He’s going to think it’s championship time again or at least that he should prolong his career for another handful of fights because he fought well tonight (aside from all the fouls).

In fact, Weidman is still 40. He’s still slower, less durable, and more prone to fatigue. Bruno Silva entered this fight having lost four of his last five and cracked him with plenty of shots. If UFC continues to put Weidman in the cage with half-decent Middleweights, one of them is going to brutally put him out to pasture. Because he won here — controversy and nuance aside — that’s more likely to happen now.

The smart play would be to walk away on a (somewhat undeserved) high note. Enjoy the hard-fought victory in front of family and friends, the people who won’t remember or care about the eye pokes. Then, go cash both halves of the fight purse and sail off into the sunset.

Of course, that won’t happen. In one way or another, a perverse bit of karmic justice will eventually be served. On a long enough time line, Silva’s scratched corneas will see revenge.

For complete Atlantic City results, coverage, and highlights, click HERE.

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