There are guys who flip the switch when they get in front of a microphone and a camera, and then there's Ultimate Fighting Championship Middleweight loud-mouth Chael Sonnen, who will get a title rematch when he faces Anderson Silva at UFC 147 in Brazil on June 2, 2012.
Sonnen is on a whole other level. He plays the heel like a virtuoso on a violin. You can love him or hate him, but there's something about the way he fires off soundbytes that, deep down, you have to respect.
Last night (March 15, 2012), Sonnen appeared on Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored" with hosts Craig Carton, Mike Straka and Nate Quarry, and aimed a few more candid shots at a few folks who have caught his ire of late.
That includes Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who has recently been bickering back and forth with the UFC. And what are Sonnen's thoughts on this?
Buckle your seatbelts. We're about to hit turbulence:
"I like him. Look, he's a crybaby, but I find it entertaining. I like it when he goes on his campaigns about entitlement and how he should be given easy fights. I don't agree with any of it, but, you gotta understand, everybody's gonna stumble, at times, but to miss weight at a fight poorly, when you're paid what he's paid -- he's the second highest paid fighter in the industry now that Brock Lesnar is retired -- it kind of puts him in a different ballpark. A lot of things are expected of him and he's not quite delivering. But as far as retirement talk, the guy ought to be able to have a bad performance here and there. Randy Couture, the greatest of all time, had bad performances, but he always came back."
Though Sonnen may have been backhandedly critical of "Rampage," he has at least one thing in common with him in that they have both admitted to using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) with both taking heat for doing so.
Things started to heat up as Sonnen spoke his mind on the subject:
"There's two things there. Hold on. If you're gonna associate the guy with TRT, make sure you also associate the fact that it's legal and it's not banned. Second thing with TRT is people are really getting confused. They look at TRT and they're missing the stuff that really is good. TRT is eight, nine or ten on the list of things they could take to help their careers. Secondly, any time a person says 'performance enhancer,' stop talking to them, because they don't have the intellect to debate with you."
It was at the point that Carton interjected and challenged Sonnen to say he was not using performance enhancing drugs (PED). Here's what he had to say:
"I wanna make this point. I would never take anything if I didn't think it would help my performance. That's what medicine is in 21st Century America. Imagine if you go to the doctor and say, 'Doc, I'm feeling great. You got anything that can bring me down a notch?' That's malpractice. It's all meant to help your performance."
The tension reached a climax as Carton proceeded to argue with Sonnen, accusing him of taking testosterone directly before his fight against Silva at UFC 117 on Aug. 7, 2010 in Oakland, as well as testing for "obscenely high levels."
Chael was not pleased:
"No, no, no. Absolutely not. Not only did I not take more of it, I was never even accused of that. Josh Gross, who's incompetent beyond measure, went on ESPN and said that I did, so it became my reality and I went with it. I was never even accused of that. Is it legal or is it not legal? If a person's taking a legal substance, that's the end of the conversation. You're sounding a lot like Josh Gross."
Incredibly, Sonnen was able to compose himself and did not storm off the set, as we've seen in the past when he has been confronted with a line of questioning he was unprepared for.
He was asked how his training is going for his upcoming rematch against Silva. According to Sonnen, he's ready to start training, but the fight deal has still not yet been inked:
"Couple of things: First off, I don't even know if I have that fight. I'm telling people I do. I'm reading about it in the media. I don't have an agreement for that bout. And, second off, I'm gonna start in April. So, we haven't even begun yet."
The question was posed to Sonnen on the actual root of his hatred for "The Spider." He said his real problem isn't even with Silva but rather the people who put up with him:
"Listen, here's the deal with Anderson. My beef isn't so much with him, it's with everybody else. I get real sick and tired of seeing guys in the back asking him for his autograph with him, and then when they get on camera themselves, they portray themselves like they're tough guys. If you put a microphone in somebody's face, and he calls out anybody other than the champion, he might as well just turn in his pink slip. If you're not here to be the best, get to the end of the line. You don't belong. I'm not sidestepping this guy or anybody else. You know, any time someone publicly slaps Dana White in the face, publicly spits on Lorenzo Ferttita, I don't understand that. When Anderson comes out and he publicly says, 'I disagree with you' to the decision makers, the guys who put the process in place, who say, 'Here's how we're gonna determine a number one contender,' tells these guys he's got a better idea of their business than they do, I don't really understand that. So, that's not really a slight at me when Anderson says that, but he is telling his bosses that he disagrees with them."
Finally, Sonnen answered the question
no one really cares about everyone wants to know: If Steven Seagal is in Silva's corner again for their next fight at UFC 147, will Sonnen make use of Chuck Norris?
"No, I will not have Chuck Norris. That is not true. I'm more of a Steve Austin guy."
Good to know.
Be honest, Maniacs. How ready are you for this fight to finally go down? And what of the rest of this madness?