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The crowd, which was pro-law enforcement during the Russow fight, embraced the thug life when the gangster from West Linn, Oregon, hit the cage. Chael Sonnen was a bona fide hero in Chicago. The crowd chanted "USA, USA" with a gusto they never managed for anyone else on the card.
There were exceptions. One gentleman accused Chael, in no uncertain terms, of "being on f*cking steroids." Time and (drug) testing will decide the validity of those claims.
What's not in question, at least not anymore, is Bisping's place near the top of the middleweight division. It was a razor-close decision win for Sonnen. At the end of the third round both men raised their hands. The press cageside was split on who would be awarded the decision.
The mystery, however, was over quickly. As soon as a score of 30-27 was announced, it was obvious Sonnen would be the winner. He had unquestionably won the third round, so a card awarding someone all three rounds would have to be his.
In a postfight interview, Sonnen asked announcer Joe Rogan what it felt like to be "inches away from greatness?" I can't speak for Rogan, but for me, it was pretty damn cool.