Morning Report: Tensions Mount as Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen Restlessly Wait for Saturday

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

By now, logic says that expecting anything other than the same canned answers from either Anderson Silva or Chael Sonnen should be a tough proposition. After all, it's been over two years. Despite Sonnen's best efforts, how much more could there possibly be left to say?

But then days like yesterday happen, when, on the eve of the United States' national get-drunk-by-noon festivities, Silva and Sonnen engaged in pre-fight press conference so contentious, UFC President Dana White essentially became a human shield in the ensuing staredown.

Yet the intensity somehow ramped up even further later in the night, when UFC 148's Countdown show debuted on FUEL TV. Amid the generic trash talking and thinly-veiled threats was a segment in which both Sonnen and Silva separately watched a replay of their UFC 117 clash. And it quickly became a fascinating bit of theater.

As Silva intently watched Sonnen smother him under a hailstorm of punches in the early rounds, the champ just shook his head. "I'm no wrestler," Silva remarked in near-perfect English, a disdainful smirk spreading across his face. "As a kid, I played soccer. Chael trained wrestling. He's good. Good wrestler. But not good for the UFC. Not good for fighting for the belt."

More rounds came and went, and Silva watched the exact the same script play out, trapped on the bottom of a Sonnen takedown, eating a salvo of unanswered shots. Again, Silva just nodded his head. "This is nothing. I don't have any cuts, nothing," he said. "Chael hit me, but he didn't win. Chael hit me, took me down, but he didn't win."

Finally, as the final seconds of round four ticked off the clock, something strange happened. Sonnen seemingly broke character for the first time in the entire show. "Keeping (Silva) on his back, you know, I don't know if that was an advantage or a disadvantage," Sonnen murmured, slowly scratching his lip. "Eventually he was on his back long enough that he finally figured out what to do down there."

Then, two minutes away from achieving the impossible, Sonnen watched his ultimate failure with an unsettling level of detachment. "Here we are in the fifth round, the closing moments. I'm thinking about trying to get my body where it should be, I'm thinking about surviving the fight. But one thing I'm not thinking about is the fact that Anderson has hold of my wrist for the past 20 seconds," he muttered with resignation, the tone of someone who knows what is coming next but is not able to stop it.

"Look at the arm!" Silva angrily blurted out. "You see? Stupid donkey. Come on, man."

It was almost tragic to watch. Sonnen, at an utter loss for words, struggled to get out his next sentence. "It's my job to get wrist control," he sighed. "And I know that. I just didn't do that."

"I have the one chance for this," a half-grinning Silva declared. "I put in the arm, and I go fast for the triangle. It was the magic moment of the fight."

And then he just started chuckling. A deep chuckle that bordered on indignation. "Congratulations to Chael. Five rounds. He punched my face, punch, punch, punch," Silva smiled again, looking down, then up at the camera triumphantly, "But it's more important to finish the fight."

Seriously guys, is it Saturday night yet?

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

UFC 148 press conference. A restless Anderson Silva and on-point Chael Sonnen traded verbal barbs once more at Tuesday's UFC 148 pre-fight press conference, which was punctuated by a highly-contentious staredown that saw Dana White separate the fighters multiple times.

Tyson talks fighter pay. Legendary boxer Mike Tyson discussed the need to raise fighter pay in mixed martial arts, while cautioning young athletes to be wary of the scumbags that will inevitably come to leech off the money.

UFC 148 dissections. Preview Saturday's action with encyclopedic breakdowns of UFC 148's five-fight prelimainry card and the pay-per-view's opening bout, Ivan Menjivar vs. Mike Easton.

Jones DWI sentencing delayed. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones was granted an additional postponement of his DWI sentencing, which is now scheduled for July 31, 2012.

UFC announces Chinese debut. The UFC will make its long-awaited Chinese debut with UFC on FUEL 6, slated for November 10, 2012, at Macau's Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Veteran featherweight Zhang Tiequan is currently the only Chinese fighter on the UFC roster.

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MEDIA STEW

You've probably already seen this a hundred times by now, but damn if it doesn't get us hyped for Saturday.

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Just a disclaimer, this has absolutely nothing to do with fighting. But American tradition dictates we eat massive amounts of hotdogs today, until we can't eat anymore. And I'm not one to break tradition.

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Fun fact: If our own Luke Thomas had to choose a walkout song for a fight, it'd be "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths. Who saw one that coming?

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Sometimes the titles of these videos speak for themselves. This is one of those times. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Hot Asian MMA girl vs. Drunkie the Bear

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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THE NEXT STEP

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TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

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WHOA

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, July 3, 2012):

UFC 149: Claude Patrick (14-2) out, Brian Ebersole (50-14-1, 1 NC) in against James Head (8-2)

UFC on FUEL 5: Jorgen Kruth vs. Fabio Maldonado, according to ESPN UK

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day is a supremely violent retrospective, courtesy of Sweet Scientist: Muay Thai Classics: Dekkers vs Coban

Many MMA fans are familiar with Ramon Dekkers at least by name, as Dekkers is widely recognized as one of Muay Thai's all time greats, amassing a record of 186(95 KOs)-30-2, and winning 8 world titles over the course of a career spanning 20 years. One name they might not be familiar with though is the one of perhaps his biggest rival, another all time great, Coban Lookchaomaesaitong. Starting his Muay Thai training at the age of eleven, he made his Radjadamnern debut at 15 and was a Lumpinee champion before he turned 20. While well rounded and proficient in all phases of Muay Thai, these two Nak Muays were mostly known as two of the sport's most devastating punchers.

In 1991, a 20 years old Ramon Dekkers had already won 2 world titles and was breaking out as a star in Thailand, losing only competitive decisions to the best Thailand had to offer, dominating the rest. Meanwhile the 25 years old Coban was a 2 time Lumpinee champion and 2 time world champion himself when they first met in Paris on April 21, 1991.

The much smaller Thai southpaw would catch Dekkers with a devastating left hook a minute into the fight, becoming the first (and only) Thai to ever knock Dekkers out. Dekkers had only been stopped once when he was 17 years old up to that point.

4 months later, Coban and Dekkers would rematch in the legendary Lumpinee stadium.

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

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