He may be just two wins away from winning the Heavyweight Grand Prix but that didn’t stop Chael Sonnen from trashing the entire division.
Sonnen will be facing arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter in mixed martial arts history on Saturday night (Oct 13, 2018) as he squares off against Fedor Emelianenko in the main event of Bellator 208.
“I think it discredits all the heavyweights completely,” Sonnen told MMAjunkie.“The best thing to do with heavyweights is to keep them the hell from any other weight class. They’re the worst athletes in the room, they’re the slowest guys in the room. They’re the laziest guys in the room – which is why they weigh so goddamn much.
“If you want to keep the mystique going on to the public that size matters and that the big guys are better, just because they’re bigger if you want to keep that false narrative out there, keep us, real athletes, away from the heavyweights. I think (the Grand Prix) was a risky move. They tried it on the other side of the tracks, and a light heavyweight now has that strap, too. Heavyweights suck, Mitrione is right.”
Sonnen is referring to Daniel Cormier, who won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as an unknown alternate. However, unlike Cormier, “The American Gangster” just recently made his heavyweight debut against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the first round of the Grand Prix.
If Sonnen does beat Emelianenko on Saturday night he will advance to fight finals. There he will face the winner of the other semifinal bout, either Matt Mitrione or Ryan Bader.
If Sonnen had things his way, he would save the promotion some money on travel expenses.
“If there’s a quick fight up in the Mohegan Sun, they can just bring one of those sons of (expletives) down here, I’ll fight them tomorrow night. We can save Bellator on the travel money,” Sonnen said. “I don’t have any idea why we have to spread this thing out. People are talking about a quick turnaround to January 26; what’s quick about that? Let’s go on the back, let’s have a drink of water, let’s walk back out there. If I’ve got to change my shorts so there’s a red corner, blue corner, let’s do it.
“Matt Mitrione is saying I’m too small to win this tournament? I cut him in half and fight him twice. Why do I give a damn what Matt Mitrione thinks? He can bring himself and Ryan Bader. Ryan Bader walking around like he’s some kind of ape. I’ll treat him like an ape. I’ll sit on the crowd tomorrow night and throw bananas at him.”
Knowing full well that Fedor wouldn’t give him much to work with in terms of trash talking ammunition, Sonnen went the other way, complementing the Russian.
“He shows up in a language that nobody can understand, in a T-shirt that nobody can read, and somehow that gets over,” Sonnen said. “And I wouldn’t encourage any young fighter to copy that example unless you want to have a short career and no money, and bad memories when it’s over. I would encourage you to find another guy and take his paradigm. But it seems to work for him.
“I’m not really saying this to be the skunk of the garden party, as much as to point out that, look, he figured something out. (Former UFC heavyweight champion) Brock Lesnar is the same way. There’s a mystique around them that happens to work and less is more. If he opens his mouth, he runs the risk of ruining the mystique. It’s still a marketing angle, it’s still a gimmick, and people can choose to believe that he’s the world’s nicest guy. And he might be, but he might not. You don’t know him, and neither do I.”
Sonnen wasn’t done yet. He wanted to remind the world who the king of trash talking was following UFC 229’s melee.
“I’ve sold more pay-per-views than anybody, more tickets than anybody, that was on the other side of the bridge,” Sonnen said. “Now I’m over there with the boys in San Jose – I still have the live gate record. I did it a year ago, at (Madison Square Garden), and nobody’s touched it since. I will outdo myself once again; beat my own records. It’s the same thing I had to do my whole career, and nobody else wants to talk to anybody else. And I’m not even trying to be an arrogant prick about it. I realize how that sounds.
“Why would they have a press conference and bring other people in here? What the hell does anybody want to ask them for? I look around the stage – bunch of very nice guys, bunch of guys that I like very much. I did’t even know when they were on the card until they sat down here today. And I love the sport. I follow it very closely, and I didn’t have the foggiest idea. And neither did you, and neither did anybody else. I’m just looking around going, ‘You know, we really could have saved some time.’”