OAKLAND CA - AUGUST 07: Chael Sonnen walks to his corner in between rounds of his fights against Anderson Silva during the UFC Middleweight Championship bout at Oracle Arena on August 7 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Try this one on and see how it fits. Chael Sonnen doesn't like the concept of fighters selling pay-per-views.
This is the same Chael Sonnen that spent the better part of a year calling out everyone from Anderson Silva to Lance Armstrong. Yes, the cycling Armstrong who suffered from cancer (read his epic rant right here).
He even reportedly went to former WWF legend Rowdy Roddy Piper for help with his "promos," or rather, talking points in interviews to beef up interest.
Which is all done to help sell fights.
But he doesn't like this, you see. His argument is that the only times he's ever said anything is when he truly felt it. Not in the name of marketing or anything like that. If Sonnen doesn't like you, he'll make it known.
Here's how he explained it to Fight Week:
"I'm not in on the selling side of things. There's a few guys that are, you know, that are actually, they're in on the pay-per-view. You got a guy like Brock Lesnar or Quinton Jackson, there's a few guys who actually have an interest in selling a match. I don't like that. I don't even like the concept, I don't even like to say it as we sit here now because I feel it's dishonest. I feel if you are trying to get somebody to purchase something from you even if it's a fight, and you misrepresented why it is you're fighting or what the conflict is, I just find that's dishonest. And Brian and I, again to use your words of selling a fight, we don't have to have a conflict to sell the fight, it's a number one contenders match. Whoever wins this bout is going to fight for the world title. And that is, again with your word, the selling feature. We don't have to disparage either person to do that. We just find, 'Hey, what is it that's interesting about this match' and that's what it is. The interesting part is the competition itself as opposed to maybe the build up before it. But I don't really get into that and I find it really frustrating when guys do. If you've got something to say and you mean it, say it. But if you don't mean it, don't say it. If I couldn't bite, I wouldn't growl."
Sonnen has had nothing but glowing praise for Brian Stann, his upcoming opponent at the UFC 136 event on Oct. 8 in Houston, Texas. In fact, he's almost too complimentary, going out of his way to call him an "awesome guy" and "really good."
This may or may not be bad news for the UFC, who have grown rather fond of the money Sonnen makes when his motormouth is in full effect.
He has said that he wouldn't count on toning down the trash talk completely, so maybe another heel turn is on the horizon. If it's not, though, will the Zuffa marketing department have a tough time selling this fight to the mixed martial arts fanbase that has grown to depend on Sonnen's shenanigans?
Or is a veritable number one middleweight contender bout between two elite fighters enough to shell out $50 for, the way Sonnen seems to think it is?