Morning Report: Chael Sonnen needs fight with Vitor Belfort before retiring, claims to be UFC's highest-paid athlete

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Although Chris Weidman took home the 2013 'Fighter of the Year' award, Chael Sonnen thinks the honor could have easily gone to Vitor Belfort. A source of inspiration in the post-testosterone replacement therapy era, the treatment's poster boy has found a true admirer in Sonnen. Now each 37, Sonnen says he and Belfort need to clash before either leaves the sport.

"To be considered one of the fighters of the year at 36 years old is awesome, but it's also inspiring. It gives hope to people," Sonnen tells Gracie Mag.

"I think outside of Jon Jones, Vitor is the scariest guy in the UFC right now. Vitor's and I's paths will cross. There's two guys that for my career to be complete, I have to fight. It's Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. That's not a secret. The UFC will tell you the same thing. It has a number of times. Sooner or later that will happen, but in between now and then I'm not going to lie about what an incredible job Vitor has done, particularly in 2013."

Sonnen ticks one box Jul. 5 at UFC 175 when he settles a score with emerging heel Silva, but it's unfamiliar territory against a Brazilian. Content with his role as the promotion's chief villain, Sonnen insists it's his natural persona that's made him a wealthy man.

"I get asked all the time whether I've been misunderstood by the fans," says Sonnen. "I have never asked the crowd for their approval and I will never start. I will never hope to walk into a room and be cheered. I'm OK with being booed. I will not pretend to be something that I'm not. I certainly won't do it to win the audience over. I've been myself and with that said I'm the biggest draw in the sport. I'm the highest paid fighter the UFC's had. Dana White just disclosed the biggest check he's ever written after a fight was to me. I'm not in this for the money and I'm not in it for the fame, but I do believe a person should just be themselves."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

JDS out of TUF Brazil Finale. Junior dos Santos has suffered a hand injury, forcing his main event bout with Stipe Miocic to be scrapped. 'I'm really sad. I apologize to my fans, to the UFC and to my opponent, Stipe Miocic, and hope to have another opportunity to fight in Brazil once my hand is healed.'

10-9, McGregor. Cole Miller and Conor McGregor engaged in an outstanding back and forth on Monday's MMA Hour. 'You're slow, you're sloppy, you're less agile. I love it. Tell me more. Tell me more, Cole.'

'It makes no sense.' Vitor Belfort says Ronaldo Souza should have gotten his title shot against Chris Weidman, not Lyoto Machida.

Woman scorned. Ronda Rousey says she won't promote, watch or have anything to do with The Ultimate Fighter. 'They only know about reality TV and they treated us like we were ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta' and not elite athletes that should be respected.'

Booted. Raise your hand if you're part of the UFC's lightweight rankings. T.J. Grantnot so fast.

It's Tuesday, so make sure to check out The MMA Hour featuring Conor McGregor & Cole Miller together, Jerry Ferrara, Chad Mendes, Muhammed Lawal, Mauro Ranallo and Mark Pavelich.

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MEDIA STEW

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Mark Munoz says he has the style to explot Gegard Mousasi.

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Recaps from ONE FC 15 and GLORY 16.

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Taking a look at this weekend's flying knees.

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Takeya Mizugaki doesn't sound like a gym rat.

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Matt Mitrione having a tough day.

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Animal cruelty aside, pretty funny.

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Long watches.

Co-Main Event Podcast Episode 102 (5/5/14)

...

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TWEETS

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Alright.

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Tough break.

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I'm cool with Rocky and Ali.

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Congrats.

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Secrets revealed.

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Get well soon.

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Imagine.

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I like that elbow.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (May 5 2014)

Dave Huckaba vs. Derrick Mehmen at WSOF 10

Tyson Griffin vs. Luiz Firmino at WSOF 10

cancelled Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic at TUF Brazil 3 Finale

Shayna Baszler vs. Bethe Correia at UFC 176

Dustin Ortiz vs. Justin Scoggins at TUF 19 Finale

Aaron Phillips vs. Sam Sicilia at UFC 173

Anthony Perosh vs. Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt

Robert Whittaker vs. Mike Rhodes at UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt

Jon Delos Reyes vs. Richie Vaculik at UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt

Vik Grujic vs. Chris Indich at UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt

Pat Healy vs. Gleison Tibau at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via levelchangemma.

Replacements for Junior Dos Santos

Junior Dos Santos has injured his hand and is out of his fight against Stipe Miocic. This is terrible news as it was probably the most anticipated match-up of the month. We need to look and see who could be a possible replacement for JDS if the UFC decides to keep Miocic on the card, which the really need to. Here are three possible replacements.

1. Josh Barnett

Barnett is coming off a loss to Travis Browne and he may not be ready to step back into the cage quite yet, but the list of possible replacements is thin. Barnett would pose a much different threat to Miocic then JDS did. While JDS would look to box with the boxer Miocic, Barnett would most likely be looking to get in the clinch and dirty box or take the fight down and lock in a submission. It would be a good fight that could help to boost Miocic's stock while getting Barnett back on track, though I think it wouldn't be as exciting as JDS-Miocic.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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

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