Even in hostile territory, Chael Sonnen isn't afraid to hold anything back.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, along with UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva and number one division contender, Sonnen, were on hand today (April, 24, 2012) at a special UFC 148 pre-fight press conference in Rio de Janiero, Brazil (Watch it here), to announce the rematch between the two bitter rivals.
As expected, because of many conflicts the super showdown has been moved to take place at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 7, 2012, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as opposed to in Brazil on June 23, 2012, leaving many Brazilian fans downright disappointed.
Originally targeted for an 80,000-seat stadium, which would have crushed the 55,000 fans that filled the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, last April, the fight would have gone down in the record books as the largest attendance for a UFC event. After scouting all over Brazil for other venues, UFC officials had no choice but to pull the plug on Brazil and head home to "Sin City."
Sonnen and Silva didn't seem to mind the change too much, though Dana White did say he had to do a lot of convincing to get "The Spider" to agree to fight outside Brazil. Sonnen, on the other hand, stated he was a bit disappointed that he didn't get the chance to break Georges St. Pierre's and Jake Shields' record set at UFC 129.
However, Sonnen is certain that his rematch with Silva will undoubtedly be the biggest sporting event in the history of combat sports, and is glad to do it in the fight capitol of the world, even if he does have to wait a bit longer to "stomp" "The Spider."
Make the jump to hear Sonnen's comment from the UFC 148 pre-fight press conference:
"Las Vegas is the fight capitol of the world. This is the biggest fight in the history of combat---boxing, wrestling, fighting, anything that's mano a mano, there's nothing been bigger than this and its going to take place on July 7th, were going to the biggest city, were going to the fight capitol of the earth. We will be the biggest sporting event in the history of combat and I would love to do it, you know, my plan was to come in here and tell you guys that I'm not coming to fight. My plan was to come here, take your money, my new belt and go back to America. But, instead, I am going to have to wait, I am going to have to stomp him on July 7th and that is exactly what I am going to do."
Of course, Sonnen could not, and would not go through the whole press conference without addressing his adversary and the buildup leading up to their beef:
"I don't' know man, this guy says the craziest things, he is surrounded by such yes men and it's unbelievable that he actually thinks like that. He talks about his legacy, he is so close to the trees that he can't see the forest. Come to America and ask people what they think of him. I mean this guy is the real deal, wow, he became the number one contender when he beat up the great Chris Leben, he then defended his belt against the great Patrick Cote and the amazing Thales Leites, what a star this guy is. What about the fact that I called him out for six years, 'He disrespected my family.' Yes, I did and what did you do about it? You didn't do a damn thing and you're not going to do anything on July 7th. Get your excuses ready now Anderson. I told everybody the first time I fought him that our skills are not even close, I will destroy him and I am going to tell you again now, our skills are not even close. So, go to your Ed Soares school of excuse making and get them handy because you are going to need them on July 7th."
"Look, the offer was on the table, offers do not last. I don't come an offer you $30,000 for your car and you call me two years from now and say, 'Hey, I'll take that 30 grand now.' That's not how it works. That was the offer and he didn't accept it, I had to go fight Bisping instead. At the end of the day, what's the difference, I'll fight them all. I'll never talk like this guy talks. I'll never talk about my career and my legacy and bowing and respect. I will talk about what's the weight class, what's the date and who's ass am I gonna whip tonight."
The trash talking business has picked up again, and with a little under three months left until fight night, expect many more fireworks to pop off before, during and after the Fourth of July weekend pay-per-view (PPV) event. If you thought the lead up to the Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans fight was good, this one just might be able to top it, especially given Sonnen's track record for hyping up and selling fights.
But will it all pay off in the end? Or will he suffer a similar fate to the one at UFC 117 in Oakland, Calif., two years ago?