Wanderlei Silva was nowhere near New York City for Tuesday’s Bellator NYC press conference.
But from thousands of miles away, he and Chael Sonnen still managed to have the most interesting exchange of the event, which promoted the company’s June 24 pay-per-view card from Madison Square Garden.
Sonnen, as is usually the case, managed to garner the majority of the attention during the presser, and did his best to needle Silva, his opponent in the Bellator NYC main event, who was participating in the presser from Brazil via a live feed.
“We’re beaming him in via satellite,” Sonnen said. “We could have used satellite technology to point it somewhere in the world to pick and predict weather patterns and protect people’s lives. Instead we’ve got Wanderlei Silva coming to us from a men’s shelter bathroom in Brazil. I find it a little bit weird.”
Silva, for his part, played along.
“He just talks, all the time, just talks and talks and talks,” Silva said. “I hope you’re training more than you’re talking, because if you’re like you were in the last fight, man, I’m gonna beat you so fast.”
“First off, I made Tito Ortiz scream ‘tap’ in less than 60 seconds, and while I suspect you’re going to be tougher than him, I still get you out of there inside the first round,” Sonnen said. “Before I get accused of hogging the mic, Wanderlei, every time you talk, all I hear is ‘garble, garble, garble.’ And I want to remind you when you address me in public, you will do it proper: it’s ‘garble, garble, garble, Mr. Sonnen.’”
“The Axe Murderer” wasn’t about to let that slide without a reply, as he had a brief retort which brought gales of laughter from the assembled in NYC.
“Suck my balls,” Silva said.
Eventually, Sonnen turned his attention elsewhere. Seated to his right was one of the most decorated fighters in the sport’s history, the one and only Fedor Emelianenko. Sonnen is always thinking a couple steps ahead of the game, so he was likely planting the seeds for another fighter when he went out of his way to point out that Sonnen, and not Emelianenko, will be the headliner in one of the world’s most famous fight venues.
“Fedor Emelianenko is going to jerk the curtain for ‘The Bad Guy’ himself,” Sonnen said. “Can you imagine being Fedor Emelianenko and getting that call and being told at MSG, you’re going to pull the curtain back for Chael Sonnen to make the walk?”
On it went. The fighters were asked about drug testing for the bout, and Bellator CEO Scott Coker noted that Sonnen was tested multiple times by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for his fight with Ortiz, although it must be noted CSAC is one of the most vigilant commissions in the country in this regard, and not enough info is yet known about the New York State Athletic Commission’s testing in the first year of legal MMA in the state.
NYSAC told MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi last week that it has the discretion to drug test licensed athletes, but did not say specifically if it would administer testing for the Sonnen-Silva bout.
Eventually, Sonnen got around to mocking Silva by putting one of his shoes on the table and comparing the levels of charisma between said shoe and Silva. But not before he made a salient point about ring rust.
That was something which affected Sonnen, who was out for three years before meeting Ortiz, and should also affect the 40-year-old Silva, who has not fought since his March 3, 2013 win over Brian Stann in Japan.
“You talk about ring rust, I didn’t think it was a thing,” Sonnen said. “I can tell you it was a real thing. I can imagine that he will stumble a little bit, if I was to give him some friendly advice, I would tell him to speed in sparring, it was a different speed, but, I’ve been around Wanderlei, I did The Ultimate Fighter with Wanderlei, I watched him train hard every single day, so I can only speak for myself, but I can tell you for me it was for real.”