For as long as we can remember Anderson Silva has been walking out to the Octagon to the sound of DMX’s version of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” proving that in the right context (covered by the right rapper and announcing the arrival of the right fighter) even a song by 70s lite-soul troubadour Bill Withers can be terrifying, while at the same time establishing some consistency in a constantly evolving sport. Champions come and champions go but you always knew the Spider was fighting when you heard that wah-wah guitar and those eerie piano tinkles and the barking of DMX’s voice. It was a sound you could count on, something to believe in. The song was so synonymous with Silva, in fact, that when the Brazilian middleweight tried to replace it with another before his fight with Nick Diaz in 2015, UFC President Dana White wouldn’t let him. Ever-shrewd. White knew the associative power of that man and that song.
But since the universe’s law is flux and since family bonds are stronger even than the financial acumen of professional fight promoters, it should come as no surprise that Silva won’t be walking out to his fight with Derek Brunson this weekend at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn (the UFC in Brooklyn!) to his old classic, but rather a track written and performed by his own teenage son, Kalyl, a budding rapper.
According to Kalyl Silva the previously unreleased track, called “Doom,” is about “battles, overcoming, fate” and not entirely, or at least directly, about his famous fighting father. But while we’ve only heard a few seconds of the song in the making-of video we’ve embedded below, it’s clear the introduction of the song is all about the former pound-for-pound king:
“There’s no fighting with the god of all fighters
There’s no fighting with the one they call Spider
You bring the oil, we bring the lighter
Take the bar higher, I’m a spider crawling in a room
I’m bringing doom.”
This whole situation shines well on Silva. First, he gets to play the proud father, giving his son’s music invaluable exposure in front of 18,000 Anderson Silva fans at the Barclay’s Center and hundreds of thousands more via pay-per-view. Second, he gets the chance to prove that he is just as terrifying and intimidating without that DMX song, that he and only he is responsible for the success of his fighting career, and that “Ain’t No Sunshine” doesn’t have any particular talismanic power over him or his opponents. Third, he gets to mess with Derek Brunson’s head a bit by changing things up and messing with his expectations, which fighters by nature hate. And lastly, he’ll be introducing a brand-new rapper to the world at the UFC’s long-awaited arrival in Brooklyn, one of hip-hop’s ancestral homes, land of Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Mos Def, Big Daddy Kane, and one-third of the Beastie Boys. What better tribute could Silva pay to the gods of MMA, rapping, or King’s County?
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