UFC Fight Night 26: Chael Sonnen always ready to fill in for Vitor Belfort and ‘Little Nerd’

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Chael Sonnen is a good man to have on speed dial if you’re Dana White or Joe Silva. "The American Gangster" says he’s always ready and in shape to fill in for an injured fighter, especially if Vitor Belfort and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria are on deck, because they have a habit of pulling out of fights.

Whether it's volunteering his services to take on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones on a few days notice, or simply fill in for an injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira against Mauricio Rua, Chael Sonnen always seems to be in fighting shape and ready to step into the Octagon at a moment's notice.

And he's a bit more prepared to step up as a late replacement when Vitor Belfort and "Little Nerd" are scheduled to fight, because as the rabble-rousing Republican revealed during today's (Aug. 15, 2013) UFC Fight Night 26 press conference, he can pretty much count on them to back out of their obligations.

His words:

"'Little Nerd' said that he was going to do this fight and pulled out like he always does. Coincidentally, after the posters, press releases and free marketing all got done. I'm from a different time. I'm from a time when your word meant something. I'm from a time that, when you sign a contract, you show up for work whether you feel like it or not. This guy called in sick, like he always does, three weeks in advance. Nobody sitting out there today can call up their boss and say, 'Hey boss, three weeks from now, I'm not going to feel good.' It can't happen. He comes out two days ago and says he wants to fight ‘Shogun.' Well listen genius; you could've fought ‘Shogun.' You could have fought him in Winnipeg and you gave your word to the fans, to the promotion and to ‘Shogun' that you would fight him. The number one rule in show business, and you saw with all the hurdles that our leadership has had to get through, the show must go on. Every time 'Lil' Nog' or Vitor Belfort signs a contract, I go into training camp because I know an opportunity is going to open up. That's just the reality of the situation. I think Shogun's outstanding, he's got a ton of skills and he can definitely beat me. I can beat him too. I want to go into this fight being a bully knowing that I can beat the guy. It's a very hard match. We're both coming off very tough matches, but even Babe Ruth struck out every now and then. We both fight very tough guys and we fight them all the time. Above all else, if we give our word that we'll show up, we will."

While "The American Gangster" didn't get clearance to fly out to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for UFC 161, he still got the nod to face Rua as he takes on the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion this weekend (Aug. 17, 2013) at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

And though Sonnen has yet to fill in for the oft-injured Belfort, he is more than prepared to take his spot if the opportunity presents itself.

Of course, "The Phenom" has to agree to a fight, first.

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