Though Anderson Silva’s alleged greasing went unnoticed by most fans until after the UFC 97 main event, referee Yves Lavigne not only noticed the Vaseline on Silva’s chest and arms but wiped it off and received approval from Leites’ corner before starting the contest.
After several days of speculation, Lavigne confirmed his actions with Sherdog on Tuesday:
“I saw he had a little Vaseline on his chest and I wiped it from his chest and arms, as I saw him touching them as well,” Lavigne told Sherdog.com on Tuesday.
Lavigne said he then motioned to Leites’ corner and was given a “thumbs up” of approval.
“I took care of it, and the other corner felt OK with it,” said Lavigne.
“While I wiped one glove, Silva took the end of the towel and wiped his other glove. He was helping me,” Lavigne said. “Both corners were aware of it and approved [of] it.”
Victor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, who was in Leites’ corner for the UFC 97 headliner, affirmed Lavigne’s recollection of what transpired on Saturday in Montreal:
“I remember Yves Lavigne toweled and cleaned the body. I don’t think [the cutman] put a lot of grease on his face and [Silva] put it on his body. I think everything was pretty fair.”