Prior to UFC 148, Chael Sonnen was known as ‘The American Gangsta’ but following his loss to champion Anderson Silva they may have to change his name to the rumor killer.
Following a 2nd round TKO defeat at the hands of Silva, rumors began circulating almost immediately concerning Sonnen with tales of everything from his pending retirement to a new career blooming as a professional wrestler destined for the WWE.
After the UFC on Fuel TV 4 weigh-ins were finished on Tuesday, Sonnen sat down to answer to some of those rumors, and needless to say most were shot down like a clay pigeon at a firing range.
First up was the question about the knee strike that Silva landed on Sonnen in the 2nd round that served as the harbinger for the end of the fight.
Sonnen maintains the same view now that he did on fight night, and accuses Anderson Silva of no wrongdoing.
“The knee really hurt, all those shots really hurt, but here’s the reality – we don’t do instant replay in this sport and we shouldn’t. It comes down to a judgment call,” Sonnen said. “Wherever the referee says the knee landed officially, that’s where the knee landed. That’s an excellent official as they all are, he made his call and that’s the way it goes, and I will never complain or look back.”
That brought up the second question in the roundtable discussion about the gossip surrounding Sonnen after the fight on Saturday night. It had been rumored that someone from Sonnen’s camp was going to file an appeal for the decision claiming that Silva’s knee strike was thrown with the intent of landing to the head, which is illegal when an opponent is on the ground.
Like the politician he was once upon a time, Sonnen shot down another rumor while saying the only score he’d ever like to settle with Silva is a potential rematch down the road.
“Let’s make sure we don’t call it illegal, once again the referee’s judgment is what stands. I trust in that and it works both ways. I’ve thrown knees before, the referee makes his decision, that is the decision and we live with it,” said Sonnen.
“We would never appeal it except with these (fists), if we had a chance to re-do it that’s a different thing. But we would never go and appeal the decision. The decision’s the decision and part of competing is you’ve got to know how to lose. It’s real easy to win, but you’ve got to know how to lose, and sometimes you’ve got to man up, swallow it, and walk out.”
The third rumor floating around after the fight came from another coach, Neil Melanson, who stated he believed Sonnen might call it a career after the second loss to Anderson Silva.
That was another swing and a miss as the rumor mill was then 0-3 against Sonnen during Fuel TV’s interview with the former middleweight title contender.
“I don’t think any athlete should even begin to talk like that or even think like that until you let about 30 days go by. In anything in life you don’t want to make a decision based on emotion, and you have very big highs and very big lows in this sport, and you don’t want to make any drastic decisions,” Sonnen stated.
“I also think that it’s an insult to the fans when guys like to come out and say ‘I’m retired’ when they really mean ‘I’ll see everybody in 18 months cause I’m coming back’. I don’t want to do that. When I get to that point in my career, I’ll make the statement and I’ll never look back.”
The final rumor about Sonnen following the fight was that he might soon make a transition from fighter to professional wrestler. It’s no secret that Sonnen is a longtime pro wrestling fan, and he’s even become close with several high profile names from that industry including ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and current WWE superstar C.M. Punk.
With Sonnen’s ability to talk, sell a fight and his athleticism he would surely be a welcomed addition to Vince McMahon’s roster of talent, but again the former Oregon All-American said no thank you to becoming a star in sports entertainment.
He’s still got some unfinished business in MMA to tend to first.
“I tried to go to WWE, it’s in Vegas on the 16th of this month, but I was leaving Vegas. I love to go to the WWE, I get my popcorn, I cheer on C.M. Punk, but I go back to my promoter Dana White at the end of the night,” Sonnen commented.
For all the brash comments Sonnen unleashed prior to UFC 148, he sat humble on Tuesday night and offered up only truthful and forthcoming answers. He didn’t believe the knee Anderson Silva threw was illegal, he’s not appealing the loss, he’s not retiring and he’s not going to the WWE.
The honesty he displayed however may gain him a newfound respect amongst fans and colleagues alike.