Does Anderson Silva (L) look like a man who is still looking for a way out of fighting Chael Sonnen (R) at UFC 148? Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.com.
To hear Chael Sonnen tell it, as he often does, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will do everything in his power to avoid their upcoming rematch at UFC 148 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 7, 2012.
Even if it means instigating an unsanctioned brawl at the pre-fight press conference earlier this week.
Sonnen has clamored and called for a second fight after their first encounter at UFC 117 nearly two years ago ended with him sniffing Silva's crotch and crying, "Uncle." Sure, Sonnen squished "The Spider" for 4.5 rounds, but the self-proclaimed "Peoples Champion" got wrapped up in a Brazilian pretzel and was forced to tapout.
He left the Octagon a loser that night in Oakland, Calif., even though his imagination refuses to acknowledge the outcome. An immediate rematch was a no-brainer, but Sonnen and his elevated post-fight testosterone levels detonated that lucrative plan.
Indeed, Sonnen had no one but himself to blame that the rematch has taken this long to come to fruition, but instead wagged his finger at Silva -- and an entire nation -- and called him a coward, among many other things, for about 24 months. He kept beating that drum incessantly up until the recent open media workouts, telling the assembled media that Silva's aggressive actions were a clear sign that he still is looking for a way out of their fight.
Check it out:
"He's in my head -- I think about that guy every single day. What's the difference, anyway? If I'm in his head, it;s not going to help me land a right cross on Saturday night. I'm going to need to do that with my skills.... I don't think there is a mental side to it. I'm in his head, but he's in my head, too. So what? That's what drives and motivates me. Look, at the press conference, he was trying to get disqualified. He was trying to start a fight so that he could say, "Oh, Chael hit me and now I can't fight Saturday night.' It was very transparent and obvious. It was very hard to keep a straight face because I knew what he was doing. I've been around the guy a number of times where I'd love to drag him outside and beat him up, but I'm going to wait for 7/7 at 7 p.m., only on pay-per-view and I'm going to give the whole world the opportunity to watch me do it."
Silva, remember, went "nuts" on the recent UFC 148 pre-fight media call. He followed up that performance with another jaw-dropper (for him, anyway), getting right up into Sonnen's face at the press conference earlier this week and making contact.
In fact, UFC President Dana White and a member of his security detail had to intervene and peel back Silva before a melee erupted on the dais.
It's no secret that Silva doesn't want to fight Sonnen. He doesn't feel that a white collar criminal cheat who is so outrageously disrespectful deserves the opportunity to compete for something that he holds so sacred ... even if you, me or even Sonnen think that sounds kind of goofy. White and Co. had to convince Silva, with heated backroom deliberations and likely millions of dollars, to convince Silva that he had to put aside his personal feelings and take this fight.
And teach Sonnen a lesson ... like a professional.