It was a fight where neither fighter gained any decisive momentum, capped off by a freak injury to Cote's right knee that halted the bout early in the third round.
For perhaps the first time in his career, Silva bore much of the responsibility for inaction. The champion bounced from stance to stance for much of the fight, evading Cote as he attempted to close the distance. Save for a high kick and jumping knee to Cote's chin in the first, Silva seemed a little bored.
The action picked up in the second, but it was at Cote's behest.
Weaned on laser-guided punches and explosive knees, White thought timing might have played a part in Silva's hesitancy to engage.
"I've seen guys who get thrown out of their rhythm, or can't find their range, or just can't seem to get off, and maybe that's what happened," White said in a video interview following the fight.
Even Silva's attempt at sportsmanship took the UFC president by surprise.
"Anderson Silva's the nicest guy in the world -- he's doesn't help people up in the Octagon," White said. "He's a killer when that bell rings."
White wasn't the only one who was confused by Silva's behavior.
"His corner guys were all lined up in that front row and they were screaming at him," White said. "Screaming at him."
Post-fight, Silva apologized to the Chicago fans, but for the injury, not the performance.
"Patrick should not be booed," he said. "Because you don't what it's like to be in here and go through a training camp like we all do and he should be applauded.
"We were putting on the fight that the world wanted to see, an entertaining fight ... but unfortunately he got hurt, but we'll be back again."
White was vehement that the real Anderson Silva had not shown up on Saturday.
"That's not him," White said. "Okay, maybe he'll move around a little bit, but then he let's those hands go.
"It was weird. Anderson Silva was in a different place tonight."