Portal Do Vale Tudo has a touching video of the locker room reaction of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's teammates just moments after Minotauro knocked out prospect Brendan Schaub at UFC 134. Most notably, check out UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva shedding tears of joy or relief or some combination of the two. It comes as no surprise Nogueira is as revered to his teammates as he is to the larger MMA fanbase. However, Silva's authentic and seemingly cathartic tears point to something larger.
It was believed Nogueira went into this bout not properly healed after three surgeries (two for the hip, one knee) in order to take a fight in Brazil. Beyond that, though, Nogueira has struggled of late. He walked through a staph infection to take a beating from Frank Mir. He turned in a decent performance against a fading Randy Couture only to follow up with a short and wooden performance against Cain Velasquez where he was butchered in the first round. At 35, coming into an important fight without being properly healed, Nogueira gambled with his health and potentially his career taking the fight against Schaub. To not only win, but do so by drubbing first-round knockout against a prospect who was looking to collect a trophy en route to title aspirations isn't just worthy of high praise. It's also utterly and completely redemptive.
Silva's tears evidence both preexisting unease and concern over Nogueira's future. They also demonstrate profound respect and joy for a revered MMA figure.