If the UFC 117 conference call was any indication, the Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen battle for the Middleweight title is going to be very good...at least from one side of the equation.
The Tuesday afternoon call lasted an hour and featured the champion Silva, Sonnen, and Silva's manager/translator Ed Soares. However, it was the Sonnen show as Silva gave some one word answers and seemed disinterested in participating in any war of words that would help pay-per-view buy rates.
While the trend of Top 10 lists on the interwebs has grown weary, today's call warranted it. Here are the 10 best quotes from today's call—a list that easily could have been longer.
This was Anderson Silva's standard answer to most of the questions asked to him, which was frustrating to the media on the line and to a big extent, his opponent as well.
2) "I'm the toughest guy in the company, period...whether it's Anderson or any other opponent. There's never been a guy with earrings that can out-tough me and he's not going to be the first."
This was Chael Sonnen's response when asked about his toughness when compared to the two. I think it's his conviction in his answers that gets people excited and gets people talking. His tone is just forceful and believable.
3) "I'm a partner of the UFC and Anderson's an employee. There's a big difference. That's why all the questions keep coming to me, because I give a coherent and clear answer that somebody wants to hear and he sits on a speakerphone on a car somewhere and says yes and no."
Sonnen was asked about distractions and he admitted the pre-fight interviews have been distracting, but ultimately that's what you have to do when you're main-eventing a fight.
4) "He can say what he wants to say."
This was Silva's response when asked about UFC President Dana White's comments that he would cut Silva if he gave a lackluster performance against Sonnen. This was quite telling to me in a lot of ways. Does this sound like a guy that wants to stay with the organization?
5) "I'm not of the camp that goes out and says ridiculous things like 'I'm going to go out and bang' or 'One of us is going to fall down.' I'm going to be standing. He's going to be flat on his back. If I gotta stay out there and pound on him for 25 minutes and go home and watch myself on the DVR, that's fine with me."
When asked about whether he wants a quick fight or a long fight, Sonnen was quick to respond. I felt the tone of the first sentence spoke to Sonnen's issues with the MMA community as a whole, something that seemed to come up time and time again during the call.
6) "I don't believe in sportsmanship and honor and all this crap that you guys like to talk about. I think it's a fight. Go out there and do whatever you want. I just don't like him. That's it. I don't need to offer an apology or need to provide an explanation. We can't all get along. He and I are going to be friends and we're going to go out and fight. I don't wish him a bad life. I don't wish that anything bad happens to him. I'm going to take his belt on August 7th and Dana's going to fire him on August 8th."
Enough said. Again, Silva or manager Ed Soares didn't feel the need to respond to Sonnen's comments as Silva simply said he thought Sonnen was "funny." That eventually led to No. 7.
7) "This is just words. This is just a conference call. Anderson finds it to be funny and he'll take care of what he needs to take care of on August 7th inside the Octagon....there's no reason for us to engage in anything right now."
This was Soares' response to ESPN's Franklin McNeil when asked what Silva meant by "funny." Give McNeil credit in that he attempted to get more information out and essentially brought to light what many of us were wondering: Why isn't Silva actively promoting this fight?
This led to repeated questions throughout the final 20 minutes about Silva's views on fight promotion, to which he essentially said that he doesnt' engage in trash talking. This didn't sit well with Sonnen, who clearly is frustrated by what he feels is one person promoting the event.
8) "I can drag Anderson Silva out of a hotel and beat up him anytime I want. I've made a commitment to wait until August 7th and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure millions of people watch me do it."
This was the closing of another prime Sonnen statement on the idea of hype and how he didn't understand what it meant. He explained that people asked him questions and he answered them and that hype was more pro wrestling than anything. Interestingly enough, Sonnen once considered going into wrestling and was invited to the WCW Power Plant training facility at one point.
9) "If you want to beat me up, make weight and come fight me in my weight division."
Silva was asked about the Georges St. Pierre and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua rumors again and said he wants to retire at 185 pounds. According to him, if they want to come get him, they have to make 185 and not a catch weight. If Silva is still employed on the 8th, we'll see how that plan goes.
10) "Well Penny, you knew when you asked him a question, you were setting yourself up for a boring answer...and you got one. He truly believes the answer he gave a few minutes ago, that people are tuning into see a fight and not see anything else. He really means that. He feels like he's taking the moral high ground. He couldn't be more wrong. Does he know anything about business?
Has this guy ever done anything? This isn't what people are tuning into see. People don't just want to see two people fight...they want to know why they are fighting. He comes on here and says something stupid as though he's saying some Nobel prize winning statement. He couldn't have this industry more backwards.
It's shocking that he believes it and stands there with his chest out and acts like he we should all pat him on the back and go, 'Good job Anderson...you're training really hard.' Well guess what, dummy? I've been training really hard since I was nine years old and I still have time to bring interest for people to see me whip your ass on August 7th."
Silva gave an answer of "training with Steven Segal" when asked about any new methods he had tried going into this fight. This set Sonnen off for the above which came all at once with no break. Even this didn't get Silva to respond.
Josh Nason is a freelance MMA journalist that has published Ropes, Ring and Cage.com since 2007. He is a contributor to FIGHT! Magazine, Apollo Magazine and Bleacher Report, appearing regularly on The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo . Follow him on Twitter, will ya?