Football has it’s rivalries and derbies built up over a hundred years of the game; boxing has had it’s grudge matches and to this day the possible grudge match between Pacquo and Mayweather is probably the biggest fight.
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MMA has had it’s rivalries over the years but in Las Vegas on July 7th; we will see possibly the most anticipated rematches and possibly the most personal grudge match in recent history.
“Medium rare”. Those two words launched a retort from Anderson Silva that was both vicious and surprising given the champion’s usual respectful and stoic nature in the build up of fights.
“Chael is a criminal, he is a criminal. He has been convicted of crimes and he doesn’t deserve to be inside the Octagon. When the time is right, I am going to break his face and every one of his teeth in his mouth. Playtime is over, the jokes are over. I am going to beat his ass out of the UFC. He is never going to want to fight again after I am done with him. It doesn’t matter if I am on bottom, side or top. Chael is going to get his ass kicked like never before. What I do inside the Octagon is going to change the image of the sport. I am going to make sure his legs are broke and arms are broke will not be able to walk out by himself.
“I know he is listening; no more shit talking, it is on now. I’m going to make him pay and make him eat everything he said about myself and my country. I’m going to make sure he does not disrespect any other fighter. I’m going to beat him like his parents should have beat him to have manners. He can say whatever he wants, but I am not playing anymore. It will be the same like the first fight. He walked out the loser and this time he is going to walk out the loser. The only difference is that this time he is going to have to visit a plastic surgeon after
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The response was a long time coming but somewhat expected to happen eventually. The question was always going to be if it was in the cage or in a press conference or both. What Anderson Silva will we see appear come July 7th? Will it be the precise assassin that we saw in Silva’s early UFC career and most recently in his fights with Okami and Belfort. Will he be out to embarrass Sonnen like he did former UFC lightweight champion Forrest Griffin in devastating fashion? There’s a lot in the air but lets take a look at how Chael Sonnen got himself into this position. Chael Sonnen effectively talked himself into the title picture by going on the offensive ahead of a contender fight for Nate Marquardt. With then No.1 contender Vitor Belfort on the shelf; Sonnen did something that very few were willing to do.
He called out the champion and not in the usual manner. He demeaned Silva, called him an amateur, described his training partners as idiots who once pet a bus and insulted Brazil at just about every opportunity.
If Chael was trying to get the MMA world’s attention he succeeded. He became quickly one of the most controversial characters in MMA and overnight a fight that would have grown little hype was quickly becoming one of the most intriguing match ups of 2010. The verbal barbs continued and Silva remained quiet. Sonnen became one of the most popular hosts of the UFC’s fan Q&A sessions that the UFC run prior to the weigh ins.
With all of the talk that had gone on could Sonnen back it up in the fight? Back it up he did; after four rounds of the fight at UFC117 we were looking at the probable likelihood of a new UFC middleweight champion. Sonnen had dominated Silva and
taken him down in each round and pummelled him. Sonnen landed more strikes on Silva in that fight than anyone in history. He nearly doubled the strikes received by Silva in the UFC (which will give you an idea of how elusive Silva is and how
dominant Sonnen was in this fight). In the 5th round he once again took Silva down and was working in his guard. This time was different; Sonnen left an arm in and Silva grabbed the chance with both hands to synch in a fight winning triangle/arm bar that forced Sonnen to tap.
The drama didn’t end there. The post fight drug tests revealed that Sonnen had failed his test for elevated levels of testosterone. What followed was a nightmare of hyperbole and brash comments from Sonnen that lead to the California State Athletic Commission banning Sonnen from competition. Eventually clearer information surrounding what had occurred became available. Sonnen had been receiving treatment for Testosterone Replacement Therapy but had not reported the use of TRT on his pre-fight paperwork to get an exemption. It wouldn’t be until a Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting in 2012 that it would be clear that the issue stemmed from Sonnen’s previous management team not following directives correctly.
During his suspension Sonnen continued the verbal onslaught. His reputation as the best shit-talker in the business continued to grow and it was always interesting to hear what he would say next. Around this time he started to claim he was undefeated and undisputed; that he was also the real middleweight champion of the world. This continued when he eventually returned to fighting in October 2011. After dispatching Brian Stann in his comeback fight; Sonnen began a new ploy. He began carrying around a replica UFC championship belt. He even brought it to the pre-fight presser ahead of his UFC on Fox fight with Michael Bisping in a No.1 contender bout. Sonnen just did enough on the night to beat Bisping and it was back on the assault from there.
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Originally the fight was meant to be at UFC147 in Brazil but lack of a suitable venue meant the plans were scratched and the fight was moved to Las Vegas. Still Sonnen used the opportunity to further talk down the champion and the members of Blackhouse MMA. Sonnen used the opportunity to talk down the champion’s record. Sonnen even went to the length of snoring during a Silva answer to further rile the champion.
With all that has happened in the last two years in the build up to this fight. You can guarantee emotions will be high. As the champion has said the time for games is over. We’re going to see on July 7th who the real middleweight champion of the world is. Can Silva avoid the takedowns of the West Linn Oregon gangster? Can Sonnen clip the champion or will he become the latest addition in a long line of victims of the Spider’s KO highlight reel? Whatever the outcome I just hope the fight it’s self is as entertaining as the build up. If it is; we’re in for a fight of the year candidate and a history making bout.
Football has it’s rivalries and derbies built up over a hundred years of the game;boxing has had it’s grudge matches and to this day the possible grudge match betweenPacquo and Mayweather is probably the biggest fight. MMA has had it’s rivalries over the years but in Las Vegas on July 7th; we will see possibly the most anticipated rematches and possibly the most personal grudge match in recent history.