Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva being considered to headline first UFC event on Fox Sports 1

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Saturday night following his UFC 159 loss to Jon Jones UFC star Chael Sonnen was talking retirement. By Tuesday he was digging up an old rivalry with Wanderlei Silva. There may be method to the madness.

UFC fans may have been somewhat surprised (those who are still capable of being surprised by anything Chael Sonnen says that is) when the UFC star went from talking about retiring after his humiliating first round TKO loss to Jon Jones at UFC 159 on Saturday night to suddenly reviving a dormant old feud with Wanderlei Silva on UFC Tonight.

"Wanderlei pulled a real dirt bag move on me one time. We're in a van together, he mutters something at me, but I can't understand what he's saying for the life of me. Truly, I couldn't understand him. He then puts this video on the Internet, with subtitles, because he knows I can't understand him - I don't even know if that's really what he said or not - and it looks as though I'm conceding to him.

"I'm not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei Silva straighten this thing out once and for all," Sonnen said. "If you're a fighter, [what Silva did in the van] doesn't fly, it doesn't matter if you're in a van or not. You must respond, and I'm ready to respond to him," Sonnen said on Tuesday's show (transcribed via MMA Mania).

Dave Meltzer explained the promotional logic behind Chael's statements on The May 2 Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required):

The Wanderlei Silva thing was something he was told to do because they are looking at- I know that the idea is Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen as one of the top matches on the August 17 show in Boston. That's what they are looking for.

...As far as a TV main event...Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann is to me, is like the greatest TV main event in UFC. It drew phenomenal ratings for Fuel...it was almost double the highest rated show in the history of the channel. And what a match. That probably was UFC's best match of this year.

...Wanderlei has got a certain charm and is very over and Chael is a personality

...If you are thinking of a good TV main event, that's it. Thats a good one to have. And again, Chael will cut the promos to build it up and it will be very good. I don't know if the match will be great but its definitely the right mix to build a television main event.

Transcribed by MMA.tv

Jeremy Botter explains why this fight makes more sense now than it ever has:

Silva has won two of his last three fights, and even though he's still not a contender for titles at middleweight or light heavyweight, he's relevant. Sonnen has lost two championship fights in a row, and the chances of him receiving another one anytime soon are remote at best.

So why not make the biggest money fights available?

That idea probably suits Sonnen and Silva just fine. If you're Sonnen or Silva, and you know your championship-contention days are mostly over, you have to consider your future. At this point, it's better to look out for your bank account than to fool yourself into thinking you're still a contender.

That's why this fight makes sense. You pair up two popular veterans. You let them build up a fight, and you put it on pay-per-view. Or you put it on the Fox Sports 1 card in August, because Dana White has already noted that he plans on bringing a stacked event to Boston for the launch of the network.

Works for me.


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