Nice to Have Known You Chael Sonnen

UFC 148: Will Chael Sonnen please leave town? (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

UFC 148 has come and gone, and, as anticipated, it was the largest draw of all time.  Chael Sonnen has been the perfect antagonists for GOAT Anderson Silva for the better part of the last two years.  There’s no doubt that his mouth has helped rev up both ticket sales and PPV sales.  It’s been entertaining and I admit to being excited by the mainstream coverage, but let’s all hope this has finally run its course.

If you remember, and I know how short memories run in the modern world, Chael Sonnen wanted a loser leave town battle.  He had just defeated Brian Stann at UFC 136 in October of 2011, and, while being interviewed by Joe Rogan, grabbed the microphone and challenged Silva to the WWF-style rematch, while also calling him a coward.  Silva shrugged it off and Sonnen has since rescinded the offer, but I’d like to ask Sonnen to be a man of his word and leave town.

I think he’s a great fighter, albeit one-dimensional, and he was nothing but humble in defeat.  His schtick has gotten old, though.  I was never a big fan of bringing WWE flavored hijinks to the UFC and was happy to see Brock Lesnar get hammered by both Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem and exposed as being a physical specimen and not a fighter.  Sonnen had tried to do the same, but crossed the line with some homophobic, xenophobic, and racist comments.  Aside from that, he has been caught repeatedly lying about steroid use, money laundering, even wether or not he has a twitter account.  If there’s one thing I don’t like about the UFC, it’s their ‘anything to increase sales’ mentality that allows their fighters to cross over into that realm.  Dana White loves it.  I’d rather watch the sport grow slower on its own merits than let goons like Sonnen and Lesnar become the most popular fighters around.

Tito doing what Tito does best: looking like an a-hole. (Photo Credit: MMA Junkie)

Tito Ortiz Retires

The other main story coming out of Las Vegas was the retirement of Tito Ortiz following a decision loss to Forrest Griffin.  I was never a big fan, but over the past few years, with his impending retirement looming, I’ve taken a look at, and grown to appreciate, his legacy a lot more.  Ortiz was a trash talker as well, but he backed up everything he did in the ring.  His insulting and tacky slogan t-shirts were a novelty when the sport had no personality whatsoever and he was the first accessible celebrity the sport had (Royce Gracie was an enigma, Tank Abbott a crappy fighter, and the rest were just plain boring).  His 5 consecutive title defenses are a record for the UFC light heavyweight division that Jon Jones will soon make a run at.  And his fights with Chuck Liddell are some of the most watched of all-time.  To honor all of this, the UFC inducted him into their hall of fame before the fight.  He hasn’t been relevant in quite a long time, having only one win since 2006, but his legacy is unquestioned and he’ll forever be remembered for helping bring the sport to the mainstream.  Goodbye to the King of Ground and Pound.

Best of the Rest

I was in New York City for the event and have to admit to not being able to watch much of it.    This, companied with an unexpected stay in Dallas on the flight back to the West Coast (thanks American Airlines), means I was unable to post until now.  Aside from Dong Hyun Kim’s freak injury and Chad Mendes’ punch to the solar plexus knockout of Cody McKenzie, the rest of the card was all decisions.  We still love finishes in MMA and a serious lack of them makes for a long event.  I can’t say that I’m sad I didn’t get to sit around a random bar in Brooklyn to watch Cung Le decision Patrick Cote.  Melvin Guillard got back in the win column after losing consecutive fights.  He was on the verge of being a title contender before losing in rapid fashion to the two toughest opponents he’d faced to date.

The other interesting tidbit from the weekend was the first annual International Fight Week put on by the UFC in conjunction with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.  It is expected to be a yearly event to coincide with a large card in Las Vegas (the July 4th weekend card is one of the largest annual events).  They’re hoping it will be a marquee event and destination for any fight fan and it’s a nice idea if they can improve on the quality of items on offer.  A BBQ / pool party and a pub crawl should not be enough on their own to lure fans across the country.  The UFC Fan Expo forms a part of the IFW and has a bit more oomph to it, with meet and greets, signings and training seminars.  Hopefully they’ll fill out the rest of the time in the future and it will live up to their expectations.

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    • jumpingpolarbear
    • July 11th, 2012

    The American Gangster will be back ;).

  1. I appreciate that he was humble in defeat. And if he does stick around, I won’t be disappointed. I just think that if he’s gonna act like a WWE wrestler he should stick to it.

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