First off, let’s get something out of the way. Anderson Silva’s career came to an abrupt end Saturday night. Yes, there is a slim chance he could return, but the cards are highly stacked against him given his age. Just look how long it took Frank Mir and Corey Hill to come back from similar injuries at much younger ages and how their careers progressed afterwards. Mir was never the same and Hill didn’t last very long in the sport.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Silva. As a fan, I wasn’t big on him. When he first signed with the UFC and was knocking people silly right and left, I thought to myself, “Holy crap! This guy is going to be great!” But as time went on, Silva got into his “clowning” phase. That’s when the fan in me couldn’t stand him. I always thought that if he was good enough to beat his opponents, he could just do it without humiliating them in the process. I just wanted him to go in there, fight, wash, rinse and repeat.

As a professional writer, I have always had nothing but respect for Silva. As much as the fan in me couldn’t stand him, the professional side of me couldn’t believe that the UFC could throw practically anyone at him and Silva could do whatever he wanted and walk out of the Octagon with the title belt strapped around his waist. Where the fan in me couldn’t wait for someone to defeat him, the professional in me honestly thought he would retire as the middleweight champion.

When Chris Weidman knocked out Silva in their first bout, the fan inside me couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, someone made Silva pay for all the clowning around he did inside the Octagon. Although I was not actively writing at the time, my world as a professional was turned upside down. As a writer, I had never known anyone but Silva as the UFC middleweight champion. Seeing someone else with what I saw as Silva’s title around their waist was surreal. I knew it would happen someday, but I always believed it would be on his terms, not with him lying senseless on the canvas.

Nearly everyone I spoke with leading into UFC 168 believed Silva would regain the title. I was in the same camp with them. Both as a fan and as a professional, I couldn’t imagine Silva losing two fights in a row to the same person. Silva was just too good for that to happen. I imagined him taking this fight as seriously as he had ever taken any fight in his career. Both sides of me knew he would put the clowning aside, step inside the Octagon, and want to do nothing but take care of business.

But as we all know now, that’s not how things went down. I wasn’t upset that Silva lost. If it would have been a competitive fight and he lost a decision or ended up getting knocked out again, that would have been okay. At least he could have shown up to the post-fight press conference and laid out his plans, whether it be retirement or moving forward with his career. Instead, while most of the fighters on the card were talking about their fight, Silva was sitting in a hospital somewhere waiting to have what will probably be career-ending surgery on his horrifically broken leg. Neither side of me is okay with that.

I guess what I’m getting at is that it doesn’t matter if you love the guy, hate the guy or respect the guy. After being champion for nearly seven years, Silva deserved a better ending to his career. Our last mental images of Anderson Silva in the UFC should not be of his contorted leg, him lying on the mat screaming in pain, or being wheeled out of the arena on a stretcher. Neither side of me is cool with that. I don’t know if anything can be done to change that, but I hope the powers that be within the UFC can figure out a better send-off for one of the greatest—if not the greatest—fighters ever to fight inside the Octagon. He, of everyone the UFC has ever had on its roster, deserves as much.