— UFC (@ufc) June 21, 2013
Prior to his second title reign, James' name was a hot topic among all sports fans after three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen called out the basketball superstar in an interview with Bleacher Report's own Jeremy Botter.
"The American Gangster" really raised some eyebrows when he was asked how a potential fight with James inside the cage would go down:
"He’d run away faster than his hairline. His hair went North, his talents went South and his mother went West ... No challenge. It's happening. Next time I see him, he will shake that little boy's hand, even if I have to break his arm off and take it to the boy."
Sonnen is referring to a rumor that James' former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Delonte West slept with his mother, Gloria James, during the 2010 playoffs, a rumor that West later denied (via Global Grind).
In the same interview, Sonnen also alleges that James snubbed a handicapped fan the opportunity for a photo when he was approached in the crowd at UFC 148.
Right after the fight, James tweeted "Congrats from one Champ to another!" and posted some photos of the two meeting backstage, including this one:
Silva was, of course, one of Sonnen's biggest rivals since 2010, though after his second loss to the dominant middleweight titleholder, "Uncle Chael" let the feud die.
James has not responded to any of Sonnen's remarks, though that is unlikely to deter whatever the Team Quest standout wants to say next.
UFC 162 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 6, headlined by Silva defending his belt against undefeated prospect Chris Weidman.