Following his second failed bid to capture the UFC middleweight title, is it time for Sonnen to finally give up his antagonistic approach to promoting fights?
It’s a spirited debate, but I think if Sonnen is comfortable with it, he should definitely keep up his self-promotional efforts. SportsCenter, Jim Rome Is Burning and other major news media clearly weren’t interested in speaking with a reserved, humble "American Gangster" from West Linn, Ore.
Besides that, Sonnen tirelessly—and sometimes annoyingly—utilized one of the most controversial marketing efforts for his UFC 148 rematch. Silva mainly remained quiet throughout the two-year verbal attack, only beginning to open up during a pre-fight media call and while in Las Vegas for fight week.
Sonnen was able to enter UFC 136 against Brian Stann with a minimal amount of trash talk prior to the fight. Stann noted he wasn’t expecting much verbal venom pointed his direction (via MMAJunkie) to promote the fight, while Sonnen remained extremely complimentary toward Stann (via Heavy MMA).
However, Sonnen’s trash talk reached epic levels for more than two years, with the Team Quest fighter targeting Silva, Silva's wife, the champion's camp, other Brazilian fighters and the entire country of Brazil.
Sonnen was criticized for crossing the line on numerous occasions—but he clearly has a normal side, which Bleacher Report’s very own Jeremy Botter experienced a couple of days before the fight.
Following his stunning TKO loss to Silva at UFC 148, Sonnen was disappointed but still respectful of Silva. During the post-fight interview, he had this to say:
“They gave me the opportunity. Nobody owes me anything. He’s a true champion, man. He got me with a good shot.”
As expected, Silva and Sonnen fielded a large amount of questions during the post-fight press conference, with Sonnen praising Silva further: “The better guy wins every time. The better guy won tonight.”
Unless Sonnen suddenly retires from the sport, expect to hear a certain level of showmanship anytime he’s being interviewed. It won’t reach the same level heading into UFC 148, but it won’t suddenly go away anytime soon.
Then again, future trash talk won't have to be so wacky and out of this world, nor should it be so ridiculous.