Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Chael Sonnen Needs to Shut Up, Show More Respect for Jon Jones
By Joshua Molina
Chael Sonnen needs to shut up.
He’s been running his mouth almost non-stop for most of the year. After trashing Anderson Silva, his country and his training partners, he walked into the cage and got TKO’d by Silva in July.
Now, he’s trying to bait Jon Jones into agreeing to fight him. He was willing to replace an injured Dan Henderson and fight Jones on eight days notice on Sept. 1, but when Jones refused, Sonnen attacked him. He’s called him a chicken, a coward and a mental midget. Now he told ESPN radio that he will end up fighting Jones on Sept. 22 because Jones’ opponent, Vitor Belfort, is going to pull out of the fight.
Sonnen has been praised for his willingness to fight Jones on such short notice, but Jones and others have speculated that Sonnen has been quietly training for the fight because he knew Henderson was too injured to fight more than three weeks prior. Was Sonnen courageous or cunning?
Regardless of what Sonnen knew and when he knew it, he needs to stop talking before he ends up making a fool of himself.
Here’s why the Sonnen trash talk worked with Silva. People believed he could win. He hammered the unbeatable Silva for four rounds, then made a mistake, and paid for it, tapping out to a triangle choke.
The insults worked against Silva in the rematch because fans believed that he could actually beat him. It doesn’t matter that Sonnen was TKO’d in the second fight. Once again, Sonnen won the first round, and then made a mistake in the second (why on earth is he trying spinning backfists)?
Fight fans know that Sonnen is competitive with Silva, so listening to his trash talk is worth their time.
That’s not the case with Jones.
We don’t know that he’s competitive with Jones. In fact, the most logical assumption is that he’s not.
Jones is bigger, younger, faster, and just about more skilled in everything except wrestling and trash talking. To use pro wrestling vernacular that Sonnen would appreciate, barring some outside interference from Dan Henderson in the match, when the referee isn’t looking, Jones would likely clobber Sonnen and do it worse than Silva did.
Sonnen needs to calm down and stop diluting his effectiveness as a UFC character. There’s a fine line between brilliant self promoter and bizarre, delusional self promoter.
What if Sonnen talks his way into a fight with Jones and then gets tapped out in the first round? He’s going to have a hard time selling his next fight based on trash talk. He also needs to show some modicum of respect for Jones as a fighter. He’s not a coward for not wanting to fight a new opponent on eight days notice.
Professional fighters aren’t chickens or cowards. Jones may have his priorities out of whack; he might be getting bad advice from those around him; he might be playing it too safe and trying his career, but he’s not a chicken.
Besides, Jones is so hated in MMA right now that it really doesn’t matter if he fights Belfort, Sonnen or Elton John; people will pay to see him fight anybody, hoping that he will lose. At least for one more pay per view.
Lack of competition alert: Everyone in MMA is still reeling over Dana White’s verbal destruction of Jones last week during a media call. White wouldn’t be acting that way if there were another MMA competitor that he could lose Jones to. It’s easy for White to abuse Jones because he knows Jones probably won’t fight anywhere out of the UFC.
Theoretically Jones could move to Bellator once his UFC contract is up, but White doesn’t appear to be too worried about Bellator as competition yet. The UFC is not MMA.