Although middleweight contender Chael Sonnen seemed to accept his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148, Bleacher Report has learned that Sonnen's training staff is less forgiving of Silva's potentially illegal tactics. They believe a knee strike to a seated Sonnen, which hit the challenger in the chest, also connected solidly with Sonnen's face, making it an illegal strike.
"Chael's not the kind of guy who likes to complain after a fight," Sonnen's head trainer, Scott McQuarry, said. "I felt I needed to take this action to protect him. At the point of impact, Anderson had his hand locked in the cage and his feet left the ground. We believe his intentions were clear.
"We started the process of filing a complaint with the Nevada Athletic Commission. We believe the knee that Anderson Silva threw was illegal with the clear intent to strike the face. And it did in fact connect with the face. Chael bit his tongue and needed eight stitches."
McQuarry believes the potentially illegal knee changed the remainder of the fight, creating the opening for Silva to finish the bout with punches. After contacting Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer to determine how to proceed, he was informed that filing a complaint would almost certainly not result in the fight being declared a no contest.
Instead, McQuarry is taking his case to the fans and UFC president Dana White.
"What I'm going to do is change my tactic," McQuarry said. "We're going to ask for a rematch. We deserve a rematch. If the only way Anderson Silva can win is by cheating, we need to keep a closer eye on Silva before and during a fight. And we need a rematch now. Legal knee or illegal knee, there's enough doubt with all the fouls to warrant a rematch."
In addition to the knee strike, Silva was also caught rubbing Vaseline on his chest. Although referee Yves Lavigne caught this, McQuarry says that the substance sinks into the pores, making simply wiping it off ineffective. Additionally, Silva was warned twice for grabbing Sonnen's shorts during the fight.
"I think it did make a difference in the outcome," McQuarry said. "I know that Chael grabbed Silva's shorts briefly too in response, but not for 15 seconds and two punches."
While Sonnen and his team weigh their options, McQuarry hopes the people will make their voices heard.
"They need to call the UFC. We need a rematch. Chael is a great champion and deserves a fair fight."
Chael Sonnen and Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer were not immediately available for comment.