Chael Sonnen wants a rematch with Anderson Silva on Super Bowl weekend. Dana White wants the rematch but there seems to be a problem. Nobody has asked the champ what he thinks and according to his manager, he is not as excited about the fight as his challenger or his boss.
Anderson Silva has remained mum about Chael Sonnen’s grandstand challenge at UFC 136. It wasn’t as if he doesn’t know what is going on. He was sitting with the crowd in Houston, Texas just a few feet away from his adversary when the challenge was made. Yet the champion hasn’t gotten on board with the WWE style trash talk.
“Chael is not the person that’s going to determine when [Silva] is going to take the fight,” Soares said. “When he’s going to take this fight is when his shoulder is completely healed up, and he’s ready to start his training camp for the fight.”
Soares also says that Sonnen’s insults haven’t fallen on deaf ears. One statement in particular made by Sonnen leading up to the fight has really gotten under the champ’s skin.
Sonnen was on Mauro Ranallo’s radio show and made this bold statement about what he plans to do to the world champion. (FYI – The whole interview was something else to say the least, which included Chael denying he was beaten by Anderson at UFC 117)
“You tell Anderson Silva I’m coming over and I’m kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the ass, and I’m telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare, just how I like it.”
“(Anderson) definitely doesn’t respect him for the things that he’s saying,” Soares said. “Hyping up the fight is one thing, but I think you cross the line when you start talking about people’s family.”
Sonnen’s brash challenge has helped put him at the front of the line in the eyes of UFC president Dana White. Prior to UFC 136, White appeared to be leaning towards a Silva vs. Henderson rematch if Henderson won, rather than give the winner of Sonnen vs. Stann the next crack. The boss has changed his mind.
“I’d be pretty [expletive] stupid if I didn’t make that fight.”
But could MMA fans face the same nightmare that boxing fans have been enduring for the last couple of years as they await Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather? The biggest problem with all of this hype was not getting Anderson’s camp on board before the challenge was made. This entire story could blow up in the UFC’s face if Silva opts to pass on the challenge.
“Who is Chael to determine that? Chael needs to take a number and wait his turn. He got his opportunity, and he tapped. It’s not the first time he’s tapped, and I guarantee you it won’t be the last.”
MMA writer Dave Meltzer stirred this up a bit more on his F4WOnline.com podcast when he said that he believes Silva doesn’t want to fight Sonnen. While Meltzer speculates that the UFC will find some way to make the match happen, what if it doesn’t? Not only has Chael Sonnen pushed Anderson Silva into a corner, but he also put the UFC in a real rough spot.
But can you really blame Anderson Silva for not accepting the challenge? After all, he tapped out Chael in their last fight. Chael tested positive for a PED after the fight. He has only fought once in fourteen months. Why should Chael get a rematch after one win in fourteen months? Why should he be bullied into giving Sonnen a rematch over Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, or any other challenger that is more deserving of a rematch than Sonnen? What is left that he has to prove?
I am also surprised that nobody pointed out the irony in Chael challenging Silva to fight in Las Vegas. As things stand today, Chael wouldn’t even get licensed by the NSAC. He is still unlicensed in California and would likely have to go back to California to reapply. If he is denied, he would not be allowed to reapply for a year. There is a lot of red tape to go through before they could even think about booking Las Vegas, which is why I find it very odd that Sonnen would stipulate Nevada.
Overcoming fan backlash over not being able to make the fight may be one of the biggest challenges that the UFC faces going into 2012. All of the things that Dana has said about boxing and its inability to make the fights people want may come back to bite him if he can’t get the champion on the same page as his challenger sooner than later.
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