Morning Report: Chael Sonnen Admits Silva Knee Hit His Face; Shane Carwin Re-Enters Spotlight

Mark J. Rebilas, US PRESSWIRE

There needs to be a name for that weird limbo fighters find themselves in when they've lost twice to the champion, but are still among the tops in the division. Something like the Franklin Zone or the Koscheck Dilemma.

Anyway, regardless of what we call it, Chael Sonnen is nestled right in there. After stumbling twice to Anderson Silva, he knows just as well as we do that he isn't getting another middleweight title shot anytime soon. So it wasn't all that surprising to hear Sonnen follow in the footsteps of those before him and crack open the door for a jump up in weight classes on UFC Tonight.

There's plenty of intriguing match-ups for Sonnen at light heavyweight, and while he'd probably never reach the heights of a Jon Jones, it's certainly a worthwhile distraction while he waits for Silva to retire.

Honestly, the more surprising sound byte may have come earlier in the interview, when Sonnen, in the classiest way possible, admitted Silva's controversial knee did actually nail him in the face, to the point where he physically paused for a second thinking the referee would drag Silva off and deduct a point.

"The knee got me in the face ... and when he hit me with it I remember thinking for an instant, 'oh, ref's going to step in and probably take a point or do something,'" Sonnen carefully explained. "But this is not my message, I want to pick my words very carefully. This is not my message to say this. The knee landed where the knee landed. The result is the same, and I do not dispute the result.

"I would never appeal a loss. The referee's decision is final. Those are the rules that I agreed to prior to the event. I agreed to play by certain rules, and that's one of them. So no, I would not (appeal) it. The knee is not illegal. The knee hit me in the face, you can't knee a guy in the face, I understand that argument. But please understand, that is super-succeeded by, it's a referee's judgment call, and when he makes the call, we don't do instant replay. I don't want this sport to have instant replay. And I don't want anyone to shed a tear for me. I have done plenty of things in the ring in the heat of the moment, and if one goes against me, that's fair play in my opinion."

After two years of contrived bluster, it's been refreshing to hear Sonnen drop the shtick and actually act like himself in recent days.

Nothing has been finalized regarding a bump up in weight, but if anything, a humbler Chael would undoubtedly inject a shot of new life into the 205-pound division. So if you had a say, who would you want Sonnen to fight for his 205-pound debut?

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Sonnen talks knee, considers move to 205. UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen admitted that while he believes Anderson Silva's knee hit him in the face, it doesn't really matter and he would never begin to think of appealing the loss. Sonnen went on to open the door to a potential move to the UFC's light heavyweight division.

Carwin, Nelson to coach TUF 16. Heavyweight sluggers Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson have been tapped to coach the next American season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Arlovski, Pulver tapped for ONE FC 5. Former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Jens Pulver were added to the fight card of ONE FC 5, which takes place August 31, 2012 at Manila, Philippines.

Early UFC 148 buyrate. Early estimates from Dave Meltzer indicate that UFC 148 sold roughly 1 million pay-per-views, a fantastic number but one that falls short of Dana White's expectations to surpass UFC 100, which was estimated at 1.6 million.

UFC on FUEL 4 payouts, ratings. Wednesday night's three-hour broadcast of UFC on FUEL 4 drew an average of 211,000 viewers, the second largest total for a FUEL TV card. Meanwhile, welterweight Aaron Simpson led the charge on the UFC on FUEL 4 salary list, pocketing $46,000 for his win over Kenny Robertson.

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MEDIA STEW

An intrepid YouTuber has been skimming through each individual Pride event, starting with Pride 1, and splicing together the best moments on top of obscure video game music. Needless to say, it's pretty much the best thing ever. This edition covers Pride 7 and Pride 8, which includes Wanderlei Silva's promotional debut and a pair of Sakuraba fights. (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you'd like to get zero work done this morning.)

(HT: CagePotato)

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After UFC on FUEL 4, Dana White weighed-in on everything from Chris Weidman's chances against Anderson Silva to what could be next for Chael Sonnen. But the most touching moment of the clip comes at the 5:15 mark, when an emotional Stephan Bonnar discusses his potential retirement from mixed martial arts.

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Veronica Rothlenhauser is 2-0 in her MMA career. That's a good start already, but what's makes it even better is that both of her wins have been five-second knockouts, including this one. If only her opponent would've touched gloves, she probably could've bought herself a few extra seconds.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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This whole Steven Seagal charade is kind of funny to us, I guess. But when you watch absurd interviews like this, you have to wonder whether people outside the community actually believe he trains MMA champions. Because if so, that's really not a good look for the sport.

(HT: The Underground)

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CHECK THE SIZE ADVANTAGE

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YUP, LOOKS BROKEN

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POKING THE BEAR

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BISPING IS NOT IMPRESSED

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Thursday, July 12, 2012):

Bellator 72: Paul Daley (29-12-2) vs. Rudy Bears (14-10)

ONE FC 5: Andrei Arlovski (17-9) vs. TBA

ONE FC 5: Jens Pulver (26-16-1) vs. TBA

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Josh Hall ask the question on everybody's mind: Chris Weidman: Middleweight's Jon Jones?

In the wake of Chris Weidman's complete and utter destruction of the third ranked MW in the world, Mark Munoz, last night at UFC on Fuel 4, he is being touted as the next great star in the UFC. His performance against Munoz was flawless, and he made a tough, top 5, veteran opponent look like a mid level regional fighter. When a fighter does this, it is the one of the first signs of a rising superstar. All the greats have that moment where as a fan, you immediately realize you are seeing something truly special.

GSP had that moment against Frank Trigg, where he made the former UFC WW title challenger look like an amateur, and watching the fight, you knew he was going to be great. In Anderson Silva's UFC debut against Chris Leben, he took a solid striker with an iron chin, and made him his whipping boy. He beat Leben like he stole something from him, and the American audience had their first taste of venom from "The Spider". Jon Jones' fight with Brandon Vera was one of the most glorious displays of ground and pound ever seen in the Octagon. When Jones' hellbows came raining down on Vera, the UFC light heavyweight division knew it was in a lot of trouble.

Last night in San Jose, Chris Weidman rose a step above the other contenders in the middleweight division, and the rapid development in his skill set begs the question: Are we watching the ascent of another fighter with the level of dominance of Jon Jones? I'll go into a deeper comparison after the jump.

More after the jump...

Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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