Talk is cheap. It's absolutely devoid of value unless it's backed up by action. If professional sports has proven anything to be true over the years, it's that you don't wanna be "that guy," the one who runs his mouth incessantly and then comes up short.
Fans will never let you live it down.
Unfortunately, Chael Sonnen put himself in that position after a sloppy spinning backfist caused him to fall flat on his butt, whereupon his opponent, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, pounced on him and ended the fight in the second round when the two did battle at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 7, 2012.
Simply put, "The American Gangster" didn't back up the two years worth of smack talk he had launched at every microphone, camera and recording device, in general, that would allow him to do so.
Sonnen appeared on FUEL TV tonight (July 10, 2012) as part of the on-air broadcast team for the UFC on Fuel TV 4 weigh ins. After the fighters were done tipping the scales, Sonnen opened up about his recent shortcomings, as well as what his future may hold.
Check out his open and honest commentary after the jump:
Right off the bat, Sonnen was asked to explain what happened with the now infamous spinning backfist that cost him the fight and made a mockery of himself, for all the world to see.
As hard as it may be, he's trying to have a good sense of humor about it all:
"You know, I really wish that I knew and I don't know. Listen, in fairness, had that landed, we'd all be talking about what a wonderful spinning punch it was. It didn't, I fell down like a doofus, and I gotta live with it."
One of the topics of discussion that emerged from UFC 148 was the knee that Silva hit Sonnen with when he was in a downed position in the second round. Sonnen apologists immediately protested that it was foul play at work, while Silva fans proclaimed it to be an athletic move that was perfectly within the rules.
According to Chael, it's a moot point. The referee said it was legal, and he's not complaining:
"Well, listen. The knee really hurt. All those shots hurt. But here's the reality -- we don't do instant replay in this sport, and we shouldn't. It comes down to a judgement call, and wherever the referee says the knee landed, officially, that's where the knee landed. That's an excellent official, as they all are. He made his call, and that's the way it goes, and I will never complain or look back."
Whether it be because of the flying knee or the greasing, there were rumblings emerging that Sonnen might consider appealing the loss afterward.
Not a chance:
"Let's make sure we don't call it illegal. The referee's judgement is what stands. I trust in that, and it works both ways. I've thrown knees before -- the referee makes his decision. That is the decision we live with. We would never appeal it, except with these. If we had a chance to re-do it, well, that's a different thing. But we would never go and appeal. The decision's the decision, and part of competing is, you gotta know how to lose. It's real easy to win, but you gotta know how to lose. Sometimes you gotta man up, swallow it and walk out."
So, then what does the future hold for Sonnen, now that his title aspirations seem to have been all but wiped away completely?
One of his coaches, Neil Melanson, said that he wouldn't be surprised if Sonnen retires. That may end up proving true, but it's a topic Sonnen just isn't ready to broach yet:
"I don't think any athlete should beging to talk like that or think about that until you let about 30 days go by. In anything in life, you don't wanna make a decision based on emotion. You have highs and very big lows in this sport. You don't wanna make any drastic decisions. I think that it's also an insult to the fans when guys like to come out and say, 'I'm retired!' When what they really mean is, 'I'll see everybody in 18 months, because I'm coming back.' I don't wanna do that. But when I get to that point in my career, I'll make a statement, and I'll never look back."
After two years of trash talk and insults, it's quite a paradox to hear Sonnen be complimentary of Silva, yet that seems to be all you'll hear out of him, these days.
A people should know when they've been defeated. Sonnen seems to have gotten that memo:
"You know, listen, it's very rare, in a competition, where a guy will fall apart and come back in the same night. Generally, as athletes, when you fall apart, you gotta go re-group. You go back home, you take a few months off and you come back. In my firs fight with Anderson, he fell apart, and then, at some point, he decided, 'You know what? I still think I can win this thing.' I really admired that in him. I look up to that in an athlete. He does that. Randy Couture does that really well. Anderson did that in this fight a lot, too. In the first round, he offered very little resistance. He came back strong."
The last rumor Sonnen was faced with during the broadcast was regarding reports that he may be taking his talents to the WWE.
Chael was somewhat evasive, but for now, it sounds like he's still got his sights set on the Octagon:
"Well, listen. I tried to go to the WWE. It's in Vegas, on the 16th of this month, but I was leaving Vegas. I'd love to go to WWE. I'd love to get my popcorn. I'd cheer on CM Punk, but I go back to my promoter, Dana White, at the end of the night."
So that's that -- or is it? It's hard to ever really tell what the deal is with the always complicated Chael Sonnen. Do you believe him? Is that even possible?