A pair of Strikeforce middleweights - coincidentally, the very two vying for that organization's middleweight title later this month - publicly questioned the ethics of Anderson Silva's behavior in his win over Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 on Saturday night.
"I call it like I see it," Rockhold told the SiriusXM Fight Club on Saturday night, "and [the win] just looked dirty to me."
Of concern to Rockhold: three acts from Silva. Or more precisely, two acts with the spirit of the third being dubious. According to the current Strikeforce middleweight champion, Silva used the vaseline applied to his face before entering the Octagon to smear his arms and chest as he was introduced by UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer, grabbed Sonnen's shorts in a scramble and striking exchange in the second round, and ultimately threw a knee while Sonnen was down that while technically legal was ostensibly thrown a little too close for comfort.
"[Silva] greased himself again," Rockhold continued. "After the Vitor [Belfort] fight I saw him grease himself. I wasn't very fond of that first one. He did it again, blatantly. And then the shorts grab. And then finally the knee, it ended up legal, but it looked like bad intentions."
Tim Kennedy, who faces Rockhold on July 14th in Portland, Ore. for Rockhold's middleweight title, also didn't shy away from criticism of Zuffa's other middleweight champion. "Wipe grease on your arms, grab your opponent shorts, and knee them in the face when they are down. That's how champions should act?", Kennedy tweeted. He later added Silva's knee to the chest of Sonnen was legal, but did not walk back any of his statements of Silva's other perceived indiscretions.
For both Rockhold and Kennedy, Silva's behavior was bad enough, but was especially problematic because it wasn't in keeping with the top ethical standard expected of a champion.
"All that together, it just wasn't very champion-like for me," Rockhold concluded. "I want to see a respectful champion out there. I know emotions might get high with all the crap talking, but you gotta keep those separate and gotta fight clean."