It has been over 24 hours and the MMA world is still talking about Chael Sonnen’s challenge to Anderson Silva at UFC 136. Well guess what? Chael is still talking and according to him, we would have seen the rematch right there in Houston if he had it his way.
I will be quite honest and admit that I have been very harsh on Chael following his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 114. The repeated lies and denials about his outside of the octagon activities have been more obnoxious than entertaining. However, after UFC 136 I think I am back on board on the Chael Sonnen entertainment bandwagon.
In case you missed it, Chael Sonnen returned to the UFC after a fourteen month layoff at UFC 136 and looked fantastic. He dominated Brian Stann for a round and a half, defeating Stann with an arm-triangle in the second round. But as impressive as he was in the fight, it was the post fight interview that rocked the house.
Following the fight, Chael grabbed the microphone from Joe Rogan and said, “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck. Super Bowl, weekend, the biggest weekend but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”
[adinserter block=”2″]As shocking as that statement was, according to Chael there was more he wanted to say at UFC 136. Chael spoke with Ariel Helwani after the fight and told Ariel what he would have done if the microphone wasn’t pulled away from him during the challenge.
“He ducked me for six years. I don’t know why things would change now. If Joe Rogan hadn’t taken the microphone out of my mouth I would have told him Anderson Silva, I want your answer right now. If you accept I will wait until Super Bowl weekend but if you reject I will walk over there and whip you’re a#$ right here, right now in Houston Texas.”
Wow! I don’t know if I believe him but that could have turned into quite a scene. Now do I think that would have happened? No, because even if he was serious, security would have never let him get that close to The Spider. Additionally, Chael is a pretty tough guy. I think if he wanted to take the microphone from Rogan, he wouldn’t have had a problem imposing his will to do so.
Chael did find a couple of microphones following the fight to continue talking about Anderson Silva and his challenge. As stated above, he spoke with Helwani and answered some questions about the challenge. Ariel asked him why he only wants Silva to leave the division and not make the fight a straight Loser Leaves UFC match.
“He’s a coward and I don’t think he’d accept and you have to play by a coward’s rules sometimes. I am trying to lure him in to a fight so I have to stick that carrot out there, something that I think he’ll do.”
Does Chael Sonnen think this fight will even happen? He says no, but I think he believes otherwise.
“I don’t expect him to take the fight, he’s a coward. I truly don’t expect him to take the fight. You know this guy walks around, “I want the biggest fights”, well there is no bigger fight than our rematch stupid. “Well I want the toughest guys.” God never made a tougher man than me and my name hasn’t come out of your mouth once.”
So why up the stakes in the first place? Why even bother offering to leave the UFC if he loses? He’d get the fight eventually without those stipulations. So why put his career on the line?
“I don’t ever have confidence buddy, I am a gambler, I let it ride. I don’t have confidence, that’s what bullies do. Anderson is the bully. He’s the one with the confidence, picks on people he knows he can beat. I don’t know if I can beat any of these guys and that’s why I walk out there.”
Believe it or not, Chael was actually complimentary towards Silva in the Helwani interview. Not everything about the champion sucks according to Sonnen.
“I have seen Anderson dance and I will admit, he’s got some pretty good moves.”
All in all this is great stuff and we are only a couple of days into the build towards the biggest grudge match in UFC history. But is all of this for nothing? It is one thing to make challenges. It is another thing for the UFC to make the fight. Dana White was asked about this at the UFC 136 post-fight press conference. While he didn’t commit to it, he was more open to the stipulations than I expected him to be.
“I don’t know, sounds like a great idea. We’ll see what happens.”
With the UFC expanding into stadiums, is it possible the fight could go down in arguably the most glamorous stadium in the country?
“We’ve been talking to (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones for a while about doing a fight there,” White said. “It’s just got to be the right fight. We’re definitely going there. It’s just a matter of when.”
What about Brazil? Could you imagine the atmosphere for something like this in Brazil? Dana can but is more worried about Chael leaving the UFC alive as opposed to leaving the UFC at all.
[adinserter block=”1″]”I want to get Chael out of there alive. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens but if it happened on Super Bowl weekend it’d be in Vegas.”
So what if the fight doesn’t happen? Well, Chael is already setting the stage for another grudge match. Chael was even more insulting to Vitor Belfort following the fight than he was Anderson. Chael had a message for Vitor in the post fight press conference.
“I forgive Vitor; he’s a fool,” Sonnen said. “He knows not what he says. You can’t hold a fool accountable because he got a little stupid in the media one time. First off, if my name comes out of his mouth again, I will bury him where he stands. Second off, tell Vitor to meet me at the hotel in 30 minutes because daddy’s got a plane to catch and I’m summoning him to carry my luggage.”
Say what you want about Chael but he is a brilliant promoter. Not only has he forced the UFC’s hand by giving him the next fight with Silva over Dan Henderson, he has also started working on the next fight following his championship rematch with Anderson. Well played Chael Sonnen…well played.
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