UFC

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva: Why This Fight Doesn't Need to Happen

Apr 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Chael Sonnen during a press conference after UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Matt SaccaroContributor IIIMay 5, 2013

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva shouldn't happen.

This fight does nothing for MMA. Sonnen is a fighter who, save for a miracle performance against Anderson Silva at UFC 117, hasn't done anything to warrant his status as a marquee fighter. 

And Wanderlei Silva? He's a legend, but in the fight game, "legend" is another word for "old." Silva has no tomorrows in MMA, only yesterdays. 

A fight between the two men produces nothing for the sport. Sure, the UFC can book the fight and have it main event an FX card, co-main event a pay-per-view or—if it's really bold—main event a pay-per-view.

But does anyone really want to see that—a fight between an over-the-hill Wanderlei Silva and a never-was-that-good, light heavyweight Chael Sonnen?

Perhaps, in this instance, it doesn't matter what the fans want.

After being battered by Jon Jones at UFC 159, Sonnen still remained as fervent a self-promoter as ever. He requested a fight with Silva in lieu of retiring. 

"I will definitely continue [fighting] and at 205 pounds," Sonnen said on UFC Tonight. The former middleweight eyed a fight with Wanderlei Silva, specifically. 

"He's called me out before and I've called him out before but the fight never really made sense. I was a contender and he was just a guy on the card. And now I think the fight does make a little bit more sense," he said calmly and candidly, like a person and not like a pro wrestler.

But then Sonnen donned his gimmicky, over-the-top "Chael P." persona, attempting to hype the meaningless fight with Silva:

Whenever I get asked about retirement, I never say it but I always think it, "I'm not going anywhere until Wanderlei and I straighten this thing out once and for all."

Wanderlei pulled a real dirtbag move on me one time: We're in a van together, he mutters something at me. I can't understand what he's saying for the life of me—truly, I can't understand it. He then puts it on YouTube with subtitles because he knows that I can't understand it. So he puts it in these subtitles, I don't know if it's what he said or not, but essentially he tells me off and it looks as though I'm conceding to him...If you're a fighter, that doesn't fly. If a guy calls you out, even if it's in van or not, you must respond to him. I'm ready to respond, Wanderlei.

Sonnen didn't waste time in laying the groundwork for this fight. Silva, judging by past remarks, wouldn't have much of a problem taking this fight to preserve his honor. He once boasted that he'd "kill" Sonnen: "Sonnen...I kill him. I kill him fast. This guy talks a lot of bull***, he talks s***," he told Ariel Helwani

But even if both fighters want to throw down, it's still an utterly pointless fight that exemplifies everything that's been wrong with the UFC lately. 

It's a one-off, gimmicky "grudge match" fight that doesn't make any contenders, doesn't separate an athlete from the pack as an elite fighter, doesn't answer any significant questions in the sport, and doesn't befit the "Superbowl of MMA" image that the UFC likes to think it has. 

Sonnen himself admitted on UFC Tonight that he wasn't even close to being a contender saying, "I'm not gonna be in contendership any time soon," he said.

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva is a desperate grab for cheap ratings or PPV buys, all in the guise of a grudge match that the fans will "love" to see.  

However, in reality, it's a slow, depressing, aged legend fighting a light heavyweight who hasn't had a significant victory at 205 pounds in years. If UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has any sense, he'll pass on this match. 

 


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