by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Media conference calls have become a standard leading into a big fight, and UFC 117 was no different as middleweight champion Anderson Silva and top contender Chael Sonnen on Tuesday took to the phones to answer questions from journalists.
In one of the most memorable conference calls since Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson took over the UFC 114 call a few months ago, Sonnen let everyone know how he felt about Anderson Silva, while the champion answered with a bizarre nature, much like some of his recent performances.
Early in the call, Silva answered several questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ statement, without expanding on his thoughts on whatever subject was broached, and Sonnen called him out for it.
“I’m a partner with the UFC; Anderson’s an employee,” Sonnen said. “There’s a big difference. That’s the reason all the questions keep coming to me because I give a coherent and clear answer that somebody wants to hear, and he sits on a speakerphone in a car somewhere and says ‘yes’ and ‘no.'”
Sonnen took the opportunity to make clear his feeling towards Silva. He believes that Aug. 7 will be the Brazilian’s curtain call in the UFC.
“I just don’t like him, that’s it,” said Sonnen. “I don’t offer an apology and I don’t need to give an explanation. We can’t all get along. He and I aren’t going to be friends, we’re going to go out there and fight. That’s it. I don’t wish him a bad life, and I don’t hope anything bad happens to him.
“I’m going to take his belt on Aug. 7 and then Dana’s going to fire him on Aug. 8.”
When the subject turned to the fans that will be tuning in on Aug. 7 or showing up at the arena in Oakland, Sonnen made no secret about who he believes are the biggest Anderson Silva fans out there right now.
“Anderson, I think, doesn’t have any fans,” Sonnen stated. “He’s the only guy in the world that’s been a champion four years, he’s never (been) beaten in four years, that’s sponsored by one company. Nobody sponsors him, nobody puts their name on the guy, and nobody wants to dress like him, act like him, or be like him. I on the other hand have a number of sponsors, a number of merchandise that’s got my name on it. It’s some of the best sellers out there. So I know who the fans are behind, but it could be a fickle building.”
Anderson agreed that the fans could be fickle, and pointed a finger their way when talking about his recent performances that always resulted in a win, but didn’t make a highlight reel at the end of the night.
“The fans they’re cheering you one minute, they’re booing you the next minute,” Silva explained. “A lot of times fans they’re the greatest thing ever, but sometimes fans don’t really understand what’s happening inside the ring at times. I don’t really blame them for them reacting in some of the ways that they react. As far as all the stuff that Chael’s been saying, I actually think it’s funny.”
Silva repeated time and time again that he thought Sonnen’s antics and comments were funny, and didn’t feel a need to engage in a war of words over the phone. Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, even took to the offensive when Silva wouldn’t go further than his previous statement.
“This is just words, this is just a conference call,” said Soares. “Anderson finds it to be funny, and they’ll take care of what they’ve got to take care of Aug. 7 inside the Octagon.”
Silva was asked what he changed from his last few fights to get ready for Sonnen, and he answered “training with Steven Seagal.”
The promotion of the fight is what Sonnen has a problem with. He let Silva know that he’s the one putting effort into selling this fight, and that the Brazilian’s business acumen could use some brushing up… then lit into him again.
“You knew when you asked him a question that you were setting yourself up for a boring answer, and you got one,” Sonnen responded to reporters.
“This is Anderson yet again, he truly believes the answer he gave a few minutes ago. That people are tuning in to see a fight, and not see anything else. He really means that. He feels like he’s taking the moral high ground.
“He couldn’t be more wrong. Does he know anything about business? Has this guy ever done anything? That’s not what people are tuning in to see, people don’t want to just see two people fight. They want to know why they’re fighting. He comes on here and says something stupid, as though he’s saying some Nobel Prize winning statement. He couldn’t have this industry more backwards.
“It’s shocking that he actually believes that and he stands there with his chest out like we should all pat him on the back and go ‘good job Anderson, you’re training really hard.’ Well guess what dummy? I’ve been training really hard since I was nine years old, and I still have time to bring interest to people seeing me whip your ass on Aug. 7.”
The war of words has gone in Chael Sonnen’s favor in a blowout, but with the fight just over a week away, the words will soon fade and it will come down to the two fighters standing across the Octagon from each other with a middleweight title belt on the line.