There is only one fighter in the UFC who currently has his next two fights booked, and his name is Chael Sonnen.
The former middleweight journeyman turned middleweight title contender turned light heavyweight title contender will fight Rashad Evans this weekend in the co-main event of UFC 167, Zuffa’s 20th anniversary blowout card. It’s a fight that should theoretically hold importance as far as the rankings and title picture in the UFC light heavyweight division, but for some reason, it just doesn’t seem to.
(Well, I found this on the Internet so it has to be true. Props: @sonnench)
With all the crap they’ve hurled at each other lately, it’s no surprise that Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva would eventually have to get into the Octagon and back up their slam poetry. But we definitely didn’t see this coming: As confirmed by UFC president Dana White on yesterday’s edition of FOX Sports Live, Sonnen and Silva will appear as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3, which begins filming early next year. The American Gangster and the Axe Murderer will then face off at a 2014 event to be named later.
“People keep asking me if they’re going to be the coaches (for TUF Brazil 3). I can’t have a Brazilian within 10 feet of Chael Sonnen in America. Imagine bringing Chael Sonnen here for six weeks. I don’t think he’d make it…I mean there’s situations in the United States where we had an event where a Brazilian fan started swinging at Chael Sonnen trying to hit him…Brazilians do not like Chael Sonnen.”
So, was White fooling us on purpose? Or did he have a change of heart and realize that, hey, Sonnen’s life isn’t that important anyway. And would any of the show’s Brazilian prospects want to be on Chael’s team? This has the potential to be all kinds of uncomfortable. For the first time in TUF history, a coach may be savagely soap-whipped by his own team. I’m telling you, these Brazilians do not respond well to motivational speaking.
Confrontations are to be expected at the Mr. Olympia Expo. At least, that seems like a rational assumption when you pack an area with men competing against each other, jacked to their gills on various forms of illicit testosterone and innumerable other chemicals. Maybe it generally results in a flex-off, or two behemoths bellowing in their guttural voices as they proceed to lay waste to each other like a pair of elephant seals. In short, it’s a great venue for empty alpha-male posturing, which made it perfect for the WWE-style confrontation that Wanderlei Silva arranged to psyche out his hypothetical future opponent (and #1 Least Favorite Person) Chael Sonnen.
We first caught wind of this incident last night when Larry Pepe released a highly pixelated video — apparently captured on the camera phone from his 1989 Motorola DynaTAC — of Silva being restrained from assaulting (but not from yelling at) Sonnen, who is more than happy to return verbal fire. It’s almost impossible to ascertain what was said from that, unless someone out there can translate 144p, but it was reasonable to assume that they did not exchange pleasantries.
Fortunately, Wanderlei provided some clarification when he posted his latest batshit video blog concerning the incident. In it, we see exactly what was said between the two — there’s some naughty language involved, if you can believe it, as well as a substantial amount of finger pointing courtesy of the Axe Murderer, who is convinced that he saw fear in Chael’s eyes. Given that Sonnen is still scheduled to fight Rashad Evans in November, it’s going to be a while before this match gets made, if it does at all. That said, hopefully the UFC can put to rest the “will they?”/”won’t they?” simmering tension between the two, and let them have at it in the Octagon. There’s only so much we can take of Wanderlei Silva screaming at us over heavy metal guitar-shredding before we begin to mentally snap.
It doesn’t look like Wanderlei Silva is interested in retiring just yet. The former Pride champion and perennial bridesmaid Chael Sonnen are eager to face one another but UFC President Dana White recently seemed to put the kibosh on the match up because he didn’t want to make the fight a pay per view bout and give Silva percentages of the buy rates – something often done for big stars.
“[Silva] said he won’t fight [Sonnen] unless he gets PPV [points] so I guess he’s gonna retire,” White told MMA Fighting.
You can see what we think about that nonsense here, and in the video above you can see, hear and feel what Wand himself thinks. In the video, we get the Wanderlei standard lines – that Sonnen is disrespectful, a less accomplished fighter than champions like himself, Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua, and that he cowardly says things on twitter and in front of cameras that he wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face. You know, well established facts about Chael P. Sonnen.
However, in the video we get all those undoubtedly sincerely-felt expressions from Silva in a seemingly forced and corny presentation. There’s a spot light, horribly bland stock metal guitar music and Silva telling fans to let Dana White know they want to see the fight. Clearly, this is Silva’s way of proving that there is interest in the bout and that White should reconsider giving him back-end money for a potential Sonnen vs. Silva pay per view main event.
Listen, Wanderlei has accomplished more in MMA than Sonnen ever has or likely will, has legions of fans for the way he conducts himself in and out of the ring and already called Sonnen out in the only way that matters – face to face. He’s also taken ungodly amounts of damage throughout his career and should have retired for his health half a decade ago.
There is no need for Wanderlei to fight Sonnen – who still appears in his prime and has avoided excessive damage with a career filled with screaming and tapping out – especially because he has a chance to go out on a win. Silva’s last fight was a brutal affair where he stopped and retired Brian Stann in what is the front-runner for nastiest fight of 2013.
But Silva is the master of his own fate and makes clear above that he wants to fight Sonnen just as much as Sonnen wants to fight him. Some of our favorite Silva quotes from the video after the jump:
In a text sent to MMAFighting, Dana White discussed Silva’s demands for a potential fight with Sonnen and took a huge, steaming dump on them in less than 100 characters. Now that’s how you efficiently run a business!
[Silva] said he won’t fight him unless he gets PPV [points] so I guess he’s gonna retire.
Yeah, you hear that Wandy? Only true mixed martial artists get a slice of the pay-per-view-point pie. I’m talking about the Brock Lesnars and the James Toneys of the world, you bum! Now go home and get your fucking shinebox!
It’s kind of scary how quickly Chael Sonnen can flip the switch from normal human being to his pro-wrestling alter ego (“Chael Mysterio”?) — but we all caught another glimpse of it on Saturday night, following his unexpected guillotine-choke finish of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26. First, Sonnen shouts out his grandmother and friend who are both fighting cancer, while rocking a shiny pink ribbon on his walkout shirt. And then…bang. It’s time to cut that promo:
“I’m the man of the hour, Joe, too sweet to be sour, what you see is what you get, and what you don’t is better yet. I’m the women’s pick I’m the men’s regret, and if you went against Chael Sonnen you made a bad bet. Now… [*hold for applause*]
“Right here, on the UFC’s new home, FOX, Sports, 1, Wanderlei Silva [*hold for applause/boos*]…six feet tall and 205 pounds, boy, until I met you I didn’t know they could stack crap that high. [*hold for applause. At this point, you really expect Jim Ross to say 'my goodness' from the broadcast desk*]
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I will let you know when I’m done, Joe, I just got done with a world champion, if you don’t think I won’t add a middle-aged comedian just for the goddamn pleasure of it, you better think again. Wanderlei Silva, three months, you and the bad guy!”
This, of course, isn’t the case. The UFC has put on several PPVs whose main events rival Rampage-Ortiz in outright shittyness. For some reason, those PPVs didn’t draw the media’s collective derision like Rampage-Ortiz did. (It’s almost as if the mainstream MMA media is being coerced by some powerful, credential-wielding force…) But that’s OK; CagePotato is here to bring those terrible main events to justice.
So just what has the UFC given us to watch on Saturday nights that was as bad as the upcoming Rampage-Ortiz train wreck? Let’s have a look.
People might not agree with this pick, but Ortiz-Griffin II was an awful main event. By 2009, Ortiz wasn’t important enough to pay for — no matter who he was fighting. Going into the fight with Forrest Griffin, he was 1-2-1 in his last four fights, with his only win coming against Ken Shamrock in 2006. Tito’s best days were far behind him. In fact, he hadn’t beaten anyone NOT named Ken Shamrock since 2006 (and, coincidentally, it was Forrest Griffin who he beat).
Griffin, too, had whatever the opposite of “a head of steam” is going into UFC 106. Rashad Evans embarrassed him at UFC 92, taking the light heavyweight belt in the process. But what Evans did to him seemed tame compared to the legendary beat down that Anderson Silva bestowed on Griffin at UFC 101.
Put these ruts together and you get an overpriced PPV — $60 to watch two guys who would never be relevant again.
(*Another* new castmember? This show has officially jumped the shark.)
When it was announced earlier today that Ariel Helwani would be hosting a special edition of The MMA Hour in which “a former champion, and one of the most popular names in the sport, will make a special announcement,” speculation began to light up the interwebs like it was a Simi Valley fireworks show. Was Brock Lesnar announcing his return to the sport? Was Bellator dumb enough to actually buy into Tito Ortiz’s “almost healthy” bait-n-switch? WAS ANDERSON SILVA ABOUT TO RETIRE?!
Simply put; no (thank God), not yet, and are you fucking kidding me? It turns out that the “former champion” is question was actually former WEC light heavyweight champ Brian Stann, who shockingly announced his retirement from the sport following his second round KO loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC on FUEL 8 last March. Citing a new daughter on the way (his third) as well as a concern for long term injuries related to not only his MMA career but his military career and previous football experience among his reasons for calling it quits, Stann was typically composed and grateful, ensuring Helwani that “I leave fighting having taken more from mixed martial arts than I ever gave.”