08 Feb - 
Morning Report: Israel Adesanya’s coach calls Anderson Silva the ‘Lance Armstrong of MMA’

Anderson Silva has a complicated legacy in MMA. Silva holds the record for the longest winning streak in UFC history at 16 consecutive wins and at one time held the record for most consecutive title defenses. The run he put together from 2006 to 2013 stands as one of the greatest achievements in the sport’s history and, at the time, cemented him as the greatest of all-time. But, in recent years, Silva has severely tarnished his legacy by twice testing positive for banned substances and for many, those failures disqualify Silva from the GOAT conversation.

This weekend, Anderson Silva will try and reassert himself into those conversations by taking on 2018 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year Israel Adesanya for the the chance to challenge for the middleweight title he lost almost six years ago. But regardless of what happens this weekend, Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman says the damage has already been done.

“He’s the Lance Armstrong of MMA,” Bareman told Submission Radio in a recent interview they did with him and his protege. “For me, he cheated. And I’m a very stand up guy. MMA fans, for one or another reasons, they’re not the same as cycling fans. MMA fans forget quickly when someone cheats. But I’m not like that. If you do something wrong and it’s proven and factual, then I hold that against him about it. I don’t hold it against you like I wanna beat you up, I just want nothing to do with you.”

It’s clear the Bareman is not thrilled with fighting a man with such a troubling recent history like Silva has but Adesanya has never been bothered by Silva’s drug test failures. Instead, “The Last Stylebender” has repeatedly made it known that he is excited about the chance to fight one of his idols in the sport. The silver lining for Bareman is that he can use Silva’s tainted legacy to make sure Adesanya isn’t too star struck to do his job on Saturday.

“Truth be told, I’ve used my position to try and help break down any possible hangovers he has with fighting someone who’s his idol,” Bareman said. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know about him, why should he be your idol? He cheated.’ I’ve intentionally used that. That’s just the way I feel. And he might not have needed it, to be honest. He’s got a very powerful mindset himself, so he might not have needed it but if there was that one percent of doubt and stuff that was creeping into him, then I made sure that I needed to eliminate anything through the use of that.

“It was maybe a little cunning or whatever, but that’s just how I feel. And he’s perfectly right, he lulls you. Anderson lulls you, but make no mistake, he is ruthless. He will do anything it takes to win. Anything. He will go to extreme measures to win.”

Silva may well need extreme measures to win. The 43-year-old former champion comes into this fight as the biggest underdog of his career and most people aren’t giving him a chance to stop Adesanya’s meteoric rise considering he has only officially won one fight in the last six years. Come Saturday, Bareman says, that number will still be the same and hoppefully, Silva will become an afterthought, just like Lance Armstrong.

“He sits nowhere, as far as I’m concerned,” said Bareman. “He sits the same place as Lance Armstrong sits, but it’s a difference sport, different community. I completely dismiss him. I find it – I think weird is the best way to describe it – I find it weird that people talk of him in that manner. You can’t cheat in this sport, or else it brings everything you did into complete disrepute, like Lance Armstrong. How are two people who are basically guilty of the same thing treated so differently in the sporting world. Well, it’s because of the different responses that each of those fanbases give to that crime.”

Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva face off in the co-main event of UFC 235 this Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.


MUST-READ STORIES

Bored. Israel Adesanya says Anderson Silva has been ‘bored’: ‘I’m the opponent he’s been looking for his whole life’.

Pleas. Anderson Silva explains why he continues fighting despite family’s pleas.

Contender. Alexander Volkanovski confident he’s ‘one fight away’ from title shot.

ACL. Tyson Pedro explains how he tore ACL in Shogun Rua fight.

Mad. Tai Tuivasa irate at Justin Willis, would fight him ‘for free, tomorrow, tonight, anywhere’.


VIDEO STEW

The MMA Beat.

UFC 234 Pre-fight Press Conference.

Embedded 4.

Dana sees the writing on the wall.

Rematch.


LISTEN UP

MMA Vivisection. Previewing the big fights at UFC 234.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Anthony Pettis and CM Punk.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

This is how problems start.

Poirier’s ready for the interim title shot.

Passing on the call out.

Max is awesome.

Gross.

Congrats.

Henry’s shirt.

Understanding he’s a 43-year-old fighter who hasn’t won a fight in 6 years is being a jerk, I guess.

Aggressively confident.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Tom Breese (11-1) vs. Ian Heinisch (12-1); UFC London, March 16.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights this weekend, and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL


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