Chael Sonnen: Wanderlei Silva is a 'distraction' heading into Rashad Evans bout at UFC 167

Jared Wickerham

Chael Sonnen is preparing for a bout with Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in Las Vegas, Nevada, but can't seem to distance himself from Wanderlei Silva, who continues to be a distraction.

Chael Sonnen is a man who just can't avoid media coverage. He's known for his ability to give a great sound byte when needed and is one of the few fighters who recognizes that winning alone doesn't translate into drawing money.

He's parlayed his ability to work the mic into a job with FOX Sports 1.

But, he's a fighter first. He's currently scheduled to face Rashad Evans in the the co-main event of UFC 167 next month (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada, at MGM Grand Garden Arena. But, if you haven't been paying attention, you'd assume he was set to to fight Wanderlei Silva.

Sonnen has made it very clear that he wants to square off with the former PRIDE Middleweight (Light Heavyweight) champion. Unfortunately, it seems like Silva would much rather the rivalry play out on YouTube than in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) Octagon.

The latest confrontation occurred at the Olympia Expo in Las Vegas, during which Silva -- along with a camera man and some friends -- ambushed Sonnen, who was there for an appearance. The video went viral, with Silva concluding the video with more of the same trash talk.

Sonnen caught up with MMA Fighting to talk about his bout with Evans and his apparent rivalry with Silva.

"He's a distraction. He's a distraction, no doubt about it. It's silly. In this sport, you cannot refuse to fight a guy and then come out and talk about that guy," Sonnen explained. "It's like, ‘Listen, Wanderlei. I've said a lot of things about a lot of people, but I'll make that walk every goddamn time.' I will never pull out of a fight. I will never call in sick, and I will never say no. That gives me the right to say the things that I say."

Sonnen, of course, makes reference to the fact that Silva has received an official bout agreement from UFC, but according to company president Dana White, turned it down because he wanted pay-per-view (PPV) points for the fight.

While Sonnen is frustrated at the ongoing distraction that Silva presents, he understands the reason the former champion continues to play up the rivalry in the media.

"I get it, he needs media. The UFC can't give it to him because he's not relevant. That's not an insult, that's just the reality. He's just not relevant. He doesn't have a fight coming up. But, it's bizarre, and it's also very transparent."

Relevancy is a funny thing in combat sports. When an aging athlete is no longer vying for titles, he (or she) finds himself in a position where the sports begins to pass them by. Silva is beginning to fade into obscurity and the last thing to go is his name recognition.

Unfortunately for Silva, sooner or later he's going to have to put up or shut up. If you don't want the fight, then stop wasting our time.

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