UFC Fight Night 26 drew to a close Saturday evening (Aug. 17, 2013) from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Mass., with a heavy dose of Chael Sonnen. A common occurrence in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) present day scheme of things, with the 36-year-old working double duty for Zuffa as a part-time fighter and "UFC Tonight" analyst.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans saw the "American Gangster" post victory via guillotine choke against Mauricio Rua, seemingly a different from the fighter most have grown accustomed to since UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" just last year. This wasn't because of a concerted effort on the victor's part, but for the first time in more than one year, UFC's reigning (and defending) employee of the month deserved to gloat, rhyme and -- as has become popular, if not crucial in UFC -- posture for his next bout.
Just as Sonnen utilized wrestling to defeat Rua, he once again dipped into professional wrestling's proven method of selling a fight to set up his next blockbuster.
As Joe Rogan tried to conduct his traditional post fight interview with Sonnen, the former Middleweight, now Light Heavyweight (is he or isn't he) went full speed ahead with the Viacom/Bellator/Impact Wrestling style promo on the man he wants to face next, Wanderlei Silva.
"I’m the man of the hour, too sweet to be sour. What you see is what you get and what you don’t is better yet. I’m the women’s pick, I’m the men’s regret and if you pick against Chael Sonnen you made a bad bet. Now, right here on the UFC’s new home, FOX Sports 1. Wanderlei Silva, 6-foot tall and 205-pounds. Boy, until I met you, I didn’t know they could stack crap that high. I just got done with a world champion. If you don’t think I’ll add a middle-aged comedian just for the goddamn pleasure of it, you better think again. Wanderlei Silva, in three months, you and the bad guy."
While Sonnen's execution was much better than Tito Ortiz's recent attempts on the stick and his request is anything but far fetched, the bigger question remains:
Where does what fighters and managers want for their careers end and what makes sense for UFC begin?
Recently, allowing such public acts to influence the decision-making process has led to conundrums and less than popular final fight choices. For instance, many didn't even consider the main event between "Shogun" and Sonnen main event worthy heading into Saturday.
To counter this prevalent issue, haters of fighter's with the gift of gab, suggest a more in-house approach to the fights being chosen and in the end allowing the results to decide who is next in line.
The greatest owner in all of sports, Dana White publicly pandering to such antics and allowing the fighters to achieve their agendas is a double-edged sword. You have to admire his desire to give the audience the match-ups they want. But, avoiding unfavorable fights that don't make sense for the overall scheme of things should be a top priority moving forward.
All is well when a fighter the likes of Chael Sonnen is winning though, as the stage is now set for a match-up between a trio of Brazilian fighters (and Phil Davis) who want the unrivaled trash talker in the Octagon. Sonnen favors Silva, arguably the weakest of the four potential opponents, which also suddenly includes Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.
Machida, Davis and Belfort all took to Twitter post-UFC Fight Night 26 and did a little posturing of their own to face Sonnen next. This is as commonplace now for Belfort, as it is Sonnen. He did the same following Chris Weidman's victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 162.
To which Sonnen replied:
"Oh, I'm in -- If Vitor said my name that's all you have to do, you don't have to say my name twice. I'm like Beyonce's child: Just say my name, say my name."
Little much right?
Was this an attempt by Sonnen to keep pace with the current state of wrestling and MMA meshing together, or just a cocky fighter doing as he always does and protecting his brand?
One thing is certain, the model set forth by Sonnen of asking for a fight is rampant and out of control. Someone needs to reign this in and create a tournament system or something.
Nah ... just kidding. He couldn't have said it any better. Epic testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) battle FTW!