Chael Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC) made headlines this past weekend by submitting former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in the first-round of their main event fight in Boston.
After earning the submission victory over Rua, Sonnen decided to ‘call out’ longtime PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC MMA, 5-7 UFC).
The beef between “The Axe Murderer” and “The American Gangster” has been well documented, and is one that Chael insists is not manufactured (via Sherdog.com):
“I would never manufacture conflict. That’s a very important statement. When I talk about big brothering guys, that’s probably lesson number one: Do not hype a fight. If you have an issue, if you have a reason and it’s sincere, feel free to speak about it. Do not make it up and don’t just cut something for entertainment. Post-fight’s a little bit different because then you’re not selling anything. If you’re just talking to a crowd, and tickets and pay-per-views aren’t on the line, that’s totally different. … I don’t like anything that’s manufactured. If it’s not real, I’m not buying it… I really just have one rule, and that is, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. There is an entertainment aspect for that, but that’s not what we do here and I don’t want to sell anybody anything that isn’t real. I’ve bought it. I bought Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis and listened to Tyson apologize afterwards, say he didn’t mean it. I go, ‘Well, then give me my money back. You’ve got to return my money. That was a lie. I bought this on a lie.’ I watched Josh Koscheck and [Georges] St. Pierre, and Josh Koscheck grabbed the mic and said [he] didn’t mean it. Josh, you’re a liar then. There’s 11,000 fans that bought a ticket because they thought that they were going to see a dispute settled. … It bothers me. It’s insincere. I won’t participate in it.”
That would explain why Sonnen was so reserved in his pre-fight hype for fan favorite Brian Stann, or for his lack of verbal warfare against Rua leading up to their “Beantown” bout.
I guess he was saving his material for someone he truly dislikes, like “The Axe Murderer.”