By itself, the ridiculous coincidence of those two being two of only three (RIP to the 3rd man, Corey Hill) to ever have that happen, is unbelievable. But it defies credulity that it not only happened to two people, and not only two people who were opponents of one another, but that it happened in one of their fights. If we did not have record, it truly is in the most literal sense of the word – incredible. There have been breaks e.g. Conor McGregor's at UFC 264, but not on his opponent's leg (unless Porier was right in his hypothesis about Conor).
Weidman and Silva were going to be inexorably tied together with each other in MMA's history even if all that had happened was Weidman dethroning the reigning king and GOAT contender the way he did. He won that very middleweight belt from him as a matter of fact prior to the rematch containing the injury. And he did it by making Silva pay for being Silva in his clowning antics. The second Silva did the thing that caused paralysis in other opponents by dropping his hands and playing Drunken Master, Weidman – very much unlike those previously mentioned vexed opponents – swung perfectly, touched the off-button, and went home a champion. This story was already rife with drama in Chris's rise to that opportunity, both within the ranks of the sport and outside the cage in overcoming pretty staggering obstacles to get there. Harrowing is the right word.
Their story (operative word being their) could have already been cemented had it ended there. It is a self- contained story of a giant falling to the underdog with all that entails; including how it might have been a fluke, the great one got caught, 9 out of 10 times it doesn't happen that way, ad infinitum. Then in the rematch the story was elevated in the worst way. Like the Temple of Doom or Empire Strikes Back, the sequel took a very dark turn when Silva shattered his leg on Chris's in the rematch. Everyone heard the scream and everyone (except the aforementioned potential psychopaths) felt it. Fast-forward to a paradoxical, other-dimensional type replay of the fateful event; only this time it is Weidman's leg disintegrating on someone else's and it is more than the half- considerate soul can bear.
Then comes the beauty. Once the pain is dealt with. The surgeries are done. The mending begins – inside and out, we learn of the strength of both men. We watched Silva attempt to mount a comeback in the sport and while he fell short in the actual recorded competition and hit a few alleged legal bumps in the road, there was the internal victory of being able to even compete again post destruction (mentioned in previous piece, look that word up in this context for even more poignancy). This former opponent, having lost to the man who took his belt and his leg, did something amazing. Very much in contrast to the ugliness witnessed surrounding the McGregor/Porier rematch, Silva was an early encourager to the fallen Weidman. Immediate sympathy and camaraderie. Zero vengefulness. Zero shouts of justice or vindication. Only respect, love, and words of hope. And the stanzas of beauty continue! You must at least view the opening minutes of the podcast/interview of their conversation and hear Chris apologize and Anderson refuse it in good faith and honor – insisting there is no apology necessary. It is an absolute privilege to watch this unfold.
This writer has said on many an occasion when asked, "How can you watch that stuff? It is so brutal!"; "I watch it and love it for its humanity, and I can see that in spite of its brutality." If you have any acceptance that the A in MMA is indeed Art, then you should see this beautiful progression of Weidman and Silva as nothing less than poetry. Even more so in light of other vitriolic rivalries. There was a time when they were enemies in battle. When everything was at stake and they gave all they had to take from the other. Then on their respective journeys life took so much from them. Now here we are seeing them not only not take, but give to each other. And it is suggested here, they gave something to us who have been reading their verses too.