Morning Report: Chael Sonnen does his best to sell us on title shot against Jon Jones, TUF 17

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Five Stages of Grief is a common model used by individuals caught in a time of crisis. However, upon referencing the overlord of information -- Wikipedia -- it's also been suggested that the model presents a valid timeline for the process of "integrating new information that conflicts with previous beliefs."

Coincidentally, this philosophy has been in play since the fateful moment the LA Times broke the story of Chael Sonnen somehow getting the next light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones. Such a transparent money-grab shattered the already splintering perception many in the community held about the UFC running their operation like the sport, as opposed to a business. Obviously, as we all know now, that's not the case.

Within the 48 hours since receiving this new information, it seems more than a few of us have run through an expedited version of the Five Stages. Sometime around Tuesday afternoon, the consensus rested on Denial or Anger. Yesterday morning? Leaning towards Depression.

And ultimately, sometime during yesterday afternoon's conference call, the pendulum seemed to swing towards Acceptance. As we listened to Chael Sonnen restart down the road he's been on for two straight years, tossing out a mix of rehashed quips and newer, snappier quips, the realization arrived that, yes, this is what we're going to be hearing until April 27.

At times is was fun, and at times it was tiresome. But honestly, after the up-and-mostly-down year we've been through, I'm not going to harp on any negativity. Instead, let's just check out a few of the more entertaining quotes before getting to some headlines.

***

Sonnen: "This is a 32-man tournament, that will take place over five and a half weeks and be aired over ten of the most successful ratings weeks that FX has ever seen. This is a tournament that is tougher than the Olympic games, it's tougher than the NFL playoffs, it's tougher than any tournament in sports."

***

Sonnen: "I'll take his belt right now if I wanted to. What's he going to do about it?"

Jones: (Hearty laugh.)

Sonnen: "He continues to act as those he's done something impressive. Who did he ever beat? Since he's come up, it's been a revolving door in that division. When Couture and Liddell left, that division became a joke."

Jones: "Come on Chael. (Snicker.) Chael, really?"

***

Sonnen: "He needs me. The bottom line is, he hasn't beaten anybody until he beats me. Lets go down the line. He beat Bader, he beat Shogun. Who's that glorified Hollywood extra? Uh, Rampage. What's next? Is he going to fight Scott Ferrozzo."

***

Sonnen: "The only thing that delegitimizes the title is the brat holding it. Next question."

Jones: (Muffled chuckle.)

***

Sonnen: "So what I talked my way into it? I wanted it, and I got it. I talked a cat out of a tree earlier today. I'll do whatever I want. ... I've got plenty of jobs that I wasn't qualified for and I got promoted anyway. At the end of it all, good for me and chalk one more up for the bad guy."

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

White: Jones vs. Sonnen 'made sense.' Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen traded barbs on Wednesday's TUF 17 conference call, while UFC President Dana White defended the UFC's matchmaking decision by simply stating, "It made sense."

Barao's coach prefers not to defend interim title. In an interview with Brazilian outlet UOL, Andre Pederneiras, coach of UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, said his fighter won't defend the belt, and will instead wait for Dominick Cruz to recover from a torn ACL.

Bonnar 'in awe' of Silva. Reflecting back on his stunningly one-sided loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 153, Stephan Bonnar admitted, "There's a part of me that is in awe of him."

Pettis vs. Cerrone targeted for early 2013. A lightweight No. 1 contender match pitting Anthony "Showtime" Pettis against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone has been agreed to and could potentially take place on a card in late January.

The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour return with a star-studded lineup featuring World Series of Fighting president Ray Sefo in studio, plus Carlos Condit, Eddie Alvarez, Ed Soares, Stephan Bonnar and Tyler Ransom.

Diaz won't get automatic title shot. Said Dana White of Nick Diaz's future when he returns from suspension: "He'll probably fight against one of the top guys at 170 pounds, and then we'll see what happens."

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MEDIA STEW

If you missed it yesterday, feel free to check out the audio of the TUF 17 conference call featuring Dana White, Jon Jones and Mr. Chael P. Sonnen.

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Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to hear this for the next six months.

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That's enough Jones-Sonnen. Up next? Dandruff problems. I'd like to think every barbershop in Brazil has a Lyoto Machida to take care of them, by force if necessary.

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The top YouTube comment for this week's Tommy Toe Hold Show: "i would rather have menieres disease than watch this show." Man, that's just mean.

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The team behind The Reem set their cameras upon Tyrone Spong, and the results are just as good as you expected. I swear, I'm always impressed by the production value of these guys.

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205'ERS WEIGH IN

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JUST A LUNCH BETWEEN FRIENDS

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WAITING FOR GLOVER

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PARTING SHOTS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, October 17, 2012):

N/A

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees casey manrique bemoan the: Death of the Beloved Fighter

To my own detriment, as an adult I am unable to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy sports and entertainment the way I did as a youth.

Neither my devotion to Michael Jordan at the feet of "Wings", nor my hatred for the 1990 Pistons (for beating Portland in the NBA Finals), nor the wonderful suspense of the DeLorean creeping to a lightning-struck 88 MPH are emotionally possible today within the confines of my fully-developed self. As the father of four children, a husband of 10 years, a project manager for a union concrete company in Manhattan, some kind of fighter, and as an ardent devotee to the truth-I know what is worth loving, I know what's in the sausage, and I have a harder time all the time investing emotionally in any sort of illusion.

While the Stallinistic tempering of my imagination took place over time, I do remember the precise moment that the magic altogether died: it was April of 2007. After watching a couple fights and a thousand commercials on Spike, I saw a hairy Brazilian guy kick Cro-Cop right in his damned head...right where Cro-Cop was supposed to kick him! I hadn't been around for the VHS days, I wasn't watching Japanese MMA in the early '70s, and as of 2007 I had only watched a handful of pay-per-views, but, I had logged countless hours on Youtube and somehow believed that Cro-Cop, who now lay crumpled upon himself in a heap, was more than mortal. While the heroes of yesterday have almost all gone down in much the same way, no one is stepping up to take the place of the "beloved" fighter. For me, the day Cro-Cop went down was the day mortal men took over MMA, led by its de facto head, The UFC.

Which brings us to today. Story after story on BE speaks to the declining viewership and oversaturation of the MMA mediascape. I would like to offer a singular explanation to this issue: we know too much. The sport that was "as real as it gets" just continues to get realer and realer, but therein lies both its greatness and its potential demise.

For example, I've only seen a couple episodes of The Ultimate Fighter (currently in its 52nd season on public access), but from what I understand it brings the struggle of the up-and-comer home to the key demographic. Ironically, as it is credited with saving The UFC by drawing viewers to the sport, it simultaneously inundates the same with the endless personal and technical shortcomings of its fighters. Even if a fighter improves over the years, it's hard to forget--not unlike going to a class reunion where the successful, well groomed, banker is still just "Sticky Drawers" to you and your bros.

Of the fighters who do come up without the embarrassment of reality television, they still have the opportunity to overexpose themselves via Twitter. As The UFC has started paying bonuses for the wackiest tweeters in the Octoverse, we've really gotten a good look at our favorite professional people hitters. Who didn't like the WEC Miguel Torres better? All we knew about him was that he had a rad haircut and fought like a rooster wearing razorblades and somehow that was enough!

Ask yourself, when's the last time you had an emotional response for a fighter the way you might have for Royce, Rickson, Tank, Shamrock(s), Bas, Cro Cop, Emelianenko, Nogueira, Wanderlei, Ortiz, Liddell, Couture, Penn, and even (dare I say) Lesnar? These were fighters of stature, not just physically, but more importantly in our perception of them. If we've learned anything from the political season it's that short selling the truth might just be worthwhile if it can enhance perception. If the UFC wants the best fighters in the world, they're farming the best crop ever. If they want to sell pay-per-views, they'll need to leave something to the imagination.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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