Morning Report: Chael Sonnen says Vitor Belfort's camp declined fight after recent callout

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Remember last weekend, when Vitor Belfort semi-exploded on the mic and called out both UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and TUF 17 challenger Chael Sonnen? In one magnificent (and somewhat confusing) rant, Belfort not only referred to Sonnen as a "punk" and a "clown" who "just got knocked out pretty badly by Anderson Silva," but also demanded Sonnen "go to the back of the line."

Now, I don't know about you, but to me those sound like fighting words. And Sonnen seemed to agree, as it took him all of five minutes to accept Vitor's challenge on live television before mounting a trash talking campaign against Belfort on Twitter -- one, I might add, that Belfort eagerly participated in.

Well, sorry to disappoint, folks. But the fight is off. I'll allow Chael to explain.

"I thought he challenged me," Sonnen wrote on a UFC.com live chat. "Which I quickly accepted. Then his people reached out to me and said I simply [misunderstood], that he simply wants the fight that I have, that he does not wish to fight me.

"It's a good move by him," Sonnen finished, of course taking one last parting shot. "He's terrible."

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Sonnen: Belfort turned me down. Fielding questions on a UFC.com live chat, TUF 17 coach Chael Sonnen revealed that after accepting Vitor Belfort's recent challenge, Belfort's "people" reached out and explained that Belfort was not actually interested in a fight with Sonnen, but rather replacing Sonnen against Jon Jones. Later in the chat, Sonnen added this unrelated nugget: "I think Chris Weidman would destroy Anderson Silva, which is precisely why the fight won't happen."

UFC on FOX 6 preview. Catch up on this weekend's FOX card with pre-fight interviews featuring Rampage Jackson, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Demetrious Johnson, John Dodson, Glover Teixeira, Ricardo Lamas and Clay Guida.

Matyushenko still defending the old guard. Vladimir Matyushenko isn't sure when his time will come. For all he knows, he may be on his last run, and this weekend's fight against Ryan Bader could an indication to call it quits. But until then, he's having too much fun to consider it.

UFC 'probably' signing Barnett. Said UFC President Dana White on the likelihood of the UFC signing former Strikeforce contender Josh Barnett: "It's probably going to happen."

UFC on FX 7 medical suspensions. Diego Nunes, Wagner Prado and C.J. Keith all received lengthy 180-day medical suspensions in the aftermath of UFC on FX 7. Likewise, headliner Michael Bisping will be forced to sit out 60 days for his TKO loss to Vitor Belfort.

GSP: Diaz rightful No. 1 contender. Among other reasons, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre called out Nick Diaz because he believes Johny Hendricks lost to Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3, thus making Diaz the division's rightful No. 1 contender. That sound you just heard was Hendricks' head exploding.

Nobre's future. When asked about a potential second UFC shot for Pedro Nobre, who fought to a controversial no contest against Yuri Alcantara last weekend, Dana White simply responded: "I doubt it."

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MEDIA STEW

Settle this debate for us. Ariel vs. Rampage: In the battle of the kicks, who wins?

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Okay, Tommy. I'll admit, you got me with the Miragliotta bit.

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Chuck Liddell recently stopped by the Joe Rogan Podcast to talk Bisping-Belfort, the state of judging and refing in MMA, and more general goodness.

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This is the internet. Of course this exists.

(HT: Reddit)

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Just to get this straight, Dana White has his ear cut off in surgery. The next week he's back fielding questions at a post-fight scrum. Impressive.

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Alistair Overeem lounging alongside a brunette model and a 9-foot, 250+ pound alligator? Sounds about right.

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Yet another fantastic fanmade trailer. No doubt, you guys are stepping up your game.

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YUP, HE'S CANADIAN

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BOMBS AWAY

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AIN'T NO PIZZA LIKE FIGHT WEEK PIZZA

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MAYBE DANA WAS RIGHT

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ONE WAY TO DO IT

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DIG IT

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YOUR CORRECT GRAMMAR APPEASES THE WARMASTER

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SO FRANK PROBABLY ISN'T GETTING A JOB WITH THE UFC

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THIS AGAIN?

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, January 23, 2012):

  • UFC on FUEL 7: Justin Edwards (8-2) out with injury, Jorge Santiago (25-10) in against Gunnar Nelson (10-0-1)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Daysees MikeWellman88 return with: UFC on Fox Main Card Preview/Predictions

Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas kick things off once the FX prelims conclude, in a fight that moves one of them close to a featherweight title shot, something that is becoming harder and harder to come by these days. Remember when all Kenny Florian had to do was make the weight-cut and squeak past Diego Nunes to get a shot? And when Mark Hominick had to beat George Roop to get his? Now however, you have to rack up impressive wins just to get a fight that looks like it could produce a worthy injury replacement in a future number-one contender fight.

Lamas has the aforementioned win streak, beating Hatsu Hioki, and Cub Swanson most recently. Erik Koch comes into this fight after a long layoff, and was originally set to get a title fight against Jose Aldo but was forced out by injury. He beat Jonathan Brookins and Raphael Assuncao back-to-back in 2011, and his only career loss is to Chad Mendes, whose only career loss is to Jose Aldo, whose only career loss is to pavement. (That's actually not true, he did lose once back in 2005, but where would I be if I let facts get in my way?) Both of these guys know that beating the other will put them at the front of the line for the winner of Aldo/Edgar, or into another number-one contender fight should Aldo win and then make the jump to 155 lbs. See what I mean about featherweight? I'd have to say this is Koch's fight to win, he'll most likely push the pace wherever the fight goes, and wait for Lamas to make a mistake and finish him.

Next up is huge fight in the lightweight division, where the winner should be the next number-one contender for the title at 155 lbs. Seeing a pattern here? Anthony Pettis came into the UFC in 2011 with a guaranteed title unification fight, with his WEC lightweight title being his ticket to the UFC strap. Fast forward two years, Pettis is 2-1 in the UFC, no title fight yet, and Gilbert Melendez is the one in the unification fight, coming over as the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion. Throw in the fact that Pettis was promised a title fight again after his last win, and that Eddie Alvarez was offered a UFC contract guaranteeing him a title fight upon arrival, and it really looks like Pettis is getting the raw end of the stick here.

He's hoping the third times a charm when it comes to promised title fights, as a win over Cerrone on Fox would put his name back in the mouths of casual and hardcore fans alike. These guys are both dynamic strikers, and although Pettis didn't fare well against the grinding style(that day) of Clay Guida, against Cerrone he's likely to keep the fight standing and look for his next highlight for the ages. Cerrone has to know it will be coming, and will try to kickbox his way to victory. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Pettis will win, and also that his next fight will be for the belt.

Main and co-main event predictions after the jump...

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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