When you sit atop the mountain, not just the divisional mountain of mixed martial arts, but the whole damn thing, you are bound to draw the jealousy and undivided attention of more than a few critics and potential opponents.
Potential opponents meaning those you have yet to face, as well as those you have already laid to waste wanting another chance. There will always be guys who wish it was still '82. They know with a second chance if Dana White would put them in, there is no doubt in their mind they would take state.
When your name is Anderson Silva, being the greatest active fighter in the sport pound for pound, not to mention one of the best ever, criticism and jealousy is par for the course.
No where was that more apparent lately than this past weekend at UFC 136 after Chael Sonnen put on a stellar performance over a lethal Brian Stann to become the man many consider the favorite to challenge Anderson Silva next for his title. Unless you live under a rock on Mars you know this is Sonnen's second quest towards the UFC middleweight strap.
Sonnen laid down the gauntlet telling the world and “The Spider” a like, “Anderson Silva...YOU SUCK!” He proceeded to call out Silva stating if Sonnen won Silva would leave the division, and if Silva won that Sonnen would leave the UFC forever.
As is to be expected with Sonnen, the buck certainly did not stop there with him later going on to directly insult not just the fighter he wishes to face but his family as well, specifically Silva's wife. This has created quite a buzz in the MMA community and drawn the fire of Anderson Silva's manager Ed Soares.
Soares sat down with Todd Jackson of Hurtsbad MMA and went into detail about both his respect for Sonnen, and frustration with Sonnen's coloring outside the lines when it comes to fight promotion.
Soares first talked about his thoughts on Sonnen's relentless trash talk and the difference between promotion and disrespect.
The Black House manager explained, “I don't know if people listen to what he says, they hear it, but I don't know if they listen. Hey man, he has a mouth, he has a right to say what he can, he has that right to say what he wants to say.”
Soares discussed the line he feels Sonnen crossed. “I find some of the things, whether he is marketing a fight or not, I feel some of the things he says are disrespectful. You shouldn't go and talk about other people's families. If you want to talk about Anderson, talk trash about his training, his coaches, talk trash about me, that's fine.”
According to Soares that's where the leeway ends. “But when you start talking about slapping his wife on the ass and having her cook him a steak, I just find that disrespectful.”
Even as classless as he sees the comments, he was sure to explain this is business. “I really don't think Chael Sonnen is a bad guy. He has always been real respectful to me. Once in awhile in he tends to talk a little trash. But I really don't take that too seriously. But I just think he starts crossing the line when he talks about his Anderson Silva's wife.”
“Insulting an individual when it pertains to that individual, that can help promote a fight.” Soares said, “But I don't see where he should be talking about Anderson's wife or Anderson's kids. Which he didn't talk about his kids but who knows, maybe that is next. There are no boundaries with Chael.”
When asked if he sees this as a tactic on Chael's part to ride Silva's momentum, Soares decisively stated, “I can guarantee you that. Who ever listened to a word Chael Sonnen had to say before the Silva fight? The only reason he talks about Anderson Silva is because that is the only time people will pay any attention to what he has to say. When he doesn't talk about Silva no one will listen.”
Soares added, “He has figured out that by talking about Anderson Silva that people are going to hear what he has to say. That is his only vehicle really. Other than talking trash, he never really has too many interesting things to say.”
Sonnen calling out Silva in such a Sonnenesque brash and in your face style did not surprise many analysts or fans. He clearly feels that regardless of a loss to Silva, and his questionable testing issues, that he is the rightful heir to the number one contender's position in the UFC middleweight division, if not the throne itself.
Does Ed Soares agree? “I don't. I mean he had an incredible performance against Brian Stann. But what you have to ask yourself is, Chael Sonnen was in his most dominant position over Silva for four and a half rounds. What happened?”
“If you can't finish someone after four and a half rounds and you're in your most dominant position, you deserve to lose as far as I'm concerned.” Soares stated. “Let Anderson be in his most dominant position for half a round, and I guarantee you you're going to get finished.”
Sonnen may be the number one topic on the Anderson Silva hype train but there is also the return to the UFC of Dan Henderson. The first UFC fighter to ever pose even an ounce of trouble for Silva before he went on to lose by submission to the pound for pound king.
When asked if a fight with Hendo was also on the radar or a concern aside from Sonnen, Soares lit up and emphatically explained why Anderson Silva is worried about nothing more than Anderson Silva. The question clearly struck a nerve.
“To be honest, Anderson Silva is not worried about anything! Anderson is not ducking anybody! It's funny, guys get their ass kicked by Anderson Silva and all of a sudden they want another shot. And when he feels they don't deserve it, now he's ducking them. Ducking them, how could he be ducking them?”
He spoke directly to the men who feel they deserve another shot at that which has already eluded them. “Listen, Dan Henderson, you were tapping out at the end of the second round. Chael Sonnen, you had a great performance but guess what? You tapped out at the end of the fifth round. The bottom line is you can say what you want about giving you another shot.”
To hear Soares tell it, they don't prefer any particular fighter, their fate is in the hands of the UFC brass. “When Dana White and the UFC want to make that fight happen, we will make that fight happen. We don't pick our fights. We don't ever tell the UFC we want to fight this guy or we want to fight that guy. None of our guys have ever chosen any of our fights. The UFC picks them and whatever they say, we take it.”
Soares clearly takes issues with the some of the criticism that is directed at his champion. “That kind of stuff irritates me when they say we are trying to hand pick guys for Anderson. Anderson Silva has fought every top middleweight in the world for the past five years and beaten them. Then he moved up to light heavyweight and knocked guys out in the first round.”
In closing he made the clearest statement he could make regarding the man who draws so much fire for his perceived faults when quite clearly it is his success that truly attracts the attention.
“Anderson has had fourteen fights in the UFC and only two have gone to decision. So I think people are just crazy saying that stuff.”
Enough said, end of discussion, es todo. When you put it like that, it is hard to argue with any rational sense of the truth.
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