— If you haven’t watched the UFC 117 pre-fight press conference yet, do yourself a favor, find 40 minutes and go watch it, or at least check out the extended highlight reel courtesy of Heavy.com at the bottom of this post. It was hilarious. The above highlight clip doesn’t do it justice. It’s astounding how Chael Sonnen manages to keep a straight face throughout the whole presser as he rips off his lines. As many laughs as he garnered throughout the conference though, he didn’t get the last one. First, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani called him on his last comment about getting 99% of the vote in Oregon that you have to see to appreciate, then Anderson Silva showed Chael how he really feels about him in the staredown as seen above. It was a fitting end to the most entertaining press conference I’ve seen in quite some time. Full presser at UFC.com.
While Chael certainly said a lot, he didn’t say much that we haven’t already heard. Respect is for street thugs, I’ve been calling this guy out for four years, he put out a press release explaining why he shouldn’t have to fight me, etc. But, it all started with Chael calling out Ed Soares for mistranslating something Anderson said.
“And by the way Soares, that was not a correct interpretation. Anderson did not just say it’s easy to talk about me, try being me; he said it’s easy to talk about me, try beating me. You’re not the only one in the room that speaks Portuguese, even though you act like you are. It’s a step harder picking up that language than it is understanding Pig Latin.”
Best part about that comment, he said it in a room full of Portuguese-speaking Brazilian fighters. Nice one, Chael, why insult one when you can get them all in one fell swoop?
Anderson Silva didn’t say much, but he did call Chael an idiot at one point.
“I’m used to fighting idiots like him that are talking about me. It’s a constant battle. I’ve fought idiots all over the world. Some have respected me. Some haven’t.”
— After the press conference, Dana White reiterated to the media that he would in fact cut Anderson Silva if he ever acted like a “lunatic” like he did at UFC 112 again. That said, he definitely won’t fire him if he merely loses like Chael Sonnen has been telling everyone. Dana maintains that Anderson is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.
— Dana White announced that the winner of the Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves rematch would get a welterweight title shot against the Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck winner. Dana also made it point to say that AKA teammates Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck would fight each other if they both won. Dana later told the media that his “brain hurt” thinking about why they wouldn’t. This comes a couple weeks after Fitch declared he would move to 185 before he fought Koscheck for the title. As for now, Fitch isn’t worried about it. He plans to cross that bridge if he comes to it.
Of course, the odd man out in that quartet is Jake Shields. Ariel Helwani asks Dana White in the interview below if Shields could surpass the Fitch or Alves, and Dana says it’s possible. That said, it doesn’t seem likely unless someone gets injured or Fitch and Koscheck refuse to fight each other. And that’s assuming Shields beats Martin Kampmann which isn’t a given by any means.
— Thiago Alves missed media day because he was apparently behind schedule cutting weight. All seems to be good now though. Alves manager told MMA Junkie he currently weighs 177 and shouldn’t have any problem making weight.
— Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos didn’t get the opportunity to say much, but they both seem motivated to earn a title shot with a win Saturday night. Nelson told USA Today he’s just excited to be in the position he’s in.
“From what everybody’s telling me, the winner out of our fight gets the next title shot,” Nelson says. “I’m excited. He’s the guy in the UFC to beat. He’s the guy that knocked out Werdum, and Werdum’s the guy that beat the guy that was unbeatable for 10 years.”
Some of you will probably crucify me for saying this, but don’t sleep on Roy Nelson Saturday night. I think he’s a live underdog.
— There is absolutely no beef between Matt Hughes and Ricardo Almeida. Yes, Almeida asked for the fight immediately after Hughes beat his mentor Renzo Gracie, but that doesn’t mean they have any ill will towards each other. Hughes doesn’t want to be known as the “Gracie killer” either. He respects Royce, Renzo and the rest of the Gracie family. He just fights who the UFC puts in front of him.
— Last but not least, Dana White talks to Ariel Helwani about Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, the Ken Pavia/Bellator FC lawsuit, MC Hammer entering the MMA management business and more in the video interview below.