A Fighter At UFC 171 Tried to Steal Anderson Silva’s Walkout Song

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

At the tail end of yesterday’s UFC 171 pre-fight press scrum with UFC President Dana White, a reporter said he'd hung out with DMX the previous evening and that the legendary, and legendarily unhinged, rapper had expressed a desire to one day accompany two UFC fighters on their walk to the Octagon: Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva. The reporter understandably wondered if that would be possible. 

White said he would be on board with DMX’s walkout idea (there's no way DMX ever actually shows up, by the way). “The Anderson Silva fight makes sense,” White said. “He walks into DMX. That’s his song.” The song in question is “No Sunshine,” DMX’s reimagining of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which first appeared on the soundtrack to the film Exit Wounds before Silva made it his own.

White then dropped a small bomb. "Somebody tried to walk into that song on this card and I wouldn’t let them, because that’s Anderson’s song,” he said. That's right: A UFC fighter tried to steal Anderson Silva's walkout song. That obviously couldn't happen. It would be like some middling comedian in the 1930s walking around in a Groucho mustache. White claimed he'd forgotten the would-be song hijacker’s name, but it’s good to know that in addition to vetting walkout music for curse words and lurid sentiments, the UFC anticipates the kind of disaster that could result from pretenders claiming the soundtracks of icons. I think about an alternate universe where someone aside from Anderson Silva struts to the Octagon with that song playing over the speakers, and I wonder if a small riot wouldn't be a risk.

A fighter trying to steal Anderson Silva’s walkout song is symptomatic of the short collective MMA memory, and maybe the cultural memory at large. There was a time not long ago at all when the lights would cut out, that wah-wah tinged guitar would come in, and all hope held for the man already standing in the cage would fade away. DMX’s song represents more than just Silva as a fighter: It emblematizes an era when mixed martial arts stopped being a simple synthesis of Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and American wrestling and became something more, when everyone who paid attention saw a lanky man with a stone face and bald head expanding the limits of what was possible. When that song came over the PA, you knew you were probably going to see something you hadn’t seen before. "No Sunshine" was the soundtrack of a sport evolving and its first true artist getting to work. 

And someone else is trying to walk out it? Are they hoping to syphon off some of that once-in-a-lifetime brilliance through their ears? Could they choose something more iconic? Maybe “A Country Boy Can Survive”—Matt Hughes's walkout song— wasn’t to their taste?

Short of a protégé, a successor, or a really violent son or daughter who can cultivate the same aura of elegant brutality and earn the imprimatur of Silva himself, that song belongs to no one else. And when Silva retires, “No Sunshine” should be erased from the UFC walkout playlist, hung from the rafters of an arena like the jersey of a retired basketball player. After all, there’s always “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”

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