UFC 148: Chael Sonnen Advocates Forfeiture to Stop Injury Bug

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2012

TUALATIN, OR - JUNE 26:  Chael Sonnen prepares to conduct a workout at the Team Quest gym on June 26, 2012 in Tualatin, Oregon.  Sonnen will fight Anderson Silva July 7, 2012 at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Injuries have been a persistent and consistent problem for the UFC in 2012—it's no secret. Seemingly no card is set in stone, as many big fights and main events have been altered due to fighter withdrawal.

The UFC's No.1 contender in the middleweight division and the man slated to meet Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 148, Chael Sonnen, thinks he has a solution to this problem.

"I think there should be forfeiture," Sonnen—who maintains he would never withdraw from a fight—told MMAjunkie.com.

Though quick to point out it doesn't make the most sense for MMA, Sonnen did note that forfeiture is standard in other sports.

"It's not realistic with the architecture that we have, but we're the only sport where you can just not show up," he said. "Every event is set. The Super Bowl for 2015. The kickoff time, the venue – it's set. If one team doesn't want to show up, a Super Bowl champion will be crowned that day."

Though Sonnen's comparison is slightly flawed in that he is comparing a team sport with MMA—which is obviously an individual sport—he does raise an interesting point.

Elaborating on his initial comments, Sonnen expressed that he believes some fighters do not take the commitment of signing on for a fight seriously enough.

"My father was a plumber," Sonnen said. "I would never disrespect him by not showing up to an athletic competition that has a maximum duration of 25 minutes. I hear guys talking, 'I pulled a hamstring.' What does that have to do with anything? That's a button off of my shirt. 'Aw, I broke a finger – button fell off my shirt, let's sew this back on.' What possibly does it have to do with walking across the ring and beating a guy up? It's ridiculous. 

"We have a Mike Tyson quote: 'The military is at war right now. A soldier gets confronted on the battlefield. He doesn't say, "Get on a scale. You know, I'm not feeling good, can we reschedule this a week from now?" That's not real life, and if you give your word that you're going to do something, you need to do it."

With all the injuries happening lately, one has to wonder how it is affecting the UFC's ticket and pay-per-view buys, as well as their ratings. However, Sonnen doesn't seem to think the frequent injuries will affect the business side of the UFC.

"They still sell out shows," Sonnen said. "Numbers are still great, and the roster is so deep that sometimes the replacement fights are better. So it's not bad for business. I just don't understand it. There's so many fake tough guys in this sport. Man, you can get all the tattoos you want, and boast to everybody about how tough you are, but if you're not willing to make that walk when they call your name, it doesn't count."

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II is the second installment of an epic battle that took place way back at UFC 117. Silva walked away the victor, but Sonnen came much closer to beating the champion than anyone else in UFC history. At UFC 148, he will look to correct the mistake he made two years ago and finally capture UFC gold.

Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for everything UFC 148.


Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a stand-up comedian. Check him out on Twitter @AndrewBarr8.