MMA: middleweight title

As Sonnen talks, Silva stays off the grid

January, 26, 2012
1/26/12
2:29
PM ET
Dundas By Chad Dundas
ESPN.com
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Anderson Silva Sherdog.com Keeping the peace: Anderson Silva hasn't had much to say about old foe Chael Sonnen as of late.
As usual, Anderson Silva and his middleweight title are a hot topic of conversation this week, as confusion continues to reign regarding Saturday’s alleged No. 1 contender bout.

The UFC itself remains adamant that the scheduled fight between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping will determine Silva’s next challenger, but at least one of the principals isn’t buying it.

Sonnen is still casting his own dissenting opinion, asserting that Silva will never grant him a rematch and that he’ll go hunting for a date with Jon Jones or Georges St. Pierre if he defeats Bisping. To underscore his point, Sonnen has most recently started showing up for interviews with a replica UFC championship belt slung over his shoulder.

Gotta say, that's a nice touch.

“If Mike [Bisping] wins, he might get his shot at Anderson Silva, but I’m out of the picture,” Sonnen told the UK Telegraph’s Gareth Davies on Wednesday. “I’ve given him four opportunities and he’s turned them all down. I’m not giving him a fifth chance. Anderson Silva and I will not cross paths again in a fighting arena -- ever.”

At this point, all UFC President Dana White can do is sigh and say he “100 percent guarantees” that Sonnen-Silva II will happen if the former Oregon wrestler (and near 4-to-1 favorite) gets by Bisping this weekend. Without official confirmation from the champ, however, it leaves significant room for rumor.

Unfortunately -- also per usual -- Silva has been nowhere to be found.

Even by his own enigmatic standards, “The Spider” has been keeping a fairly low profile as of late. Since his August 2011 victory over Yushin Okami, Silva has had precious little to say other than to occasionally update fans on his injury status, bristle at the notion he might someday have to fight friend and training partner Mark Munoz, and voice frustrations with his management for being seen clowning around with Sonnen in a hotel lobby.

Silva’s English-language website has been “under construction” since April and when he uses his Twitter account -- almost always in his native Portuguese -- it’s typically just to exchange pleasantries with peers and with his 1.06 million followers. That’s if it’s even really him and not just some handler doing the tweeting.
[+] EnlargeChael Sonnen and Anderson Silva
Josh Hedges/Getty ImagesChael Sonnen is adamant he and Anderson Silva will not cross paths in the Octagon again.

Fact is, we don’t know exactly what is going on with Anderson Silva these days.

Earlier this month, he reportedly told media at home in Brazil that he’s not sure when he’ll return to the cage because he’s still battling a back injury. That’s not to be confused with the shoulder injury we heard made him unavailable to take on Dan Henderson late last year, the rib injury his camp says he had when he fought Sonnen the first time at UFC 117 or the elbow injury that caused his bout with Vitor Belfort to be scheduled and postponed three separate times during 2010.

He and Belfort finally met at UFC 126 in February 2011 and Silva won via mind-bending front kick, proving that -- though he turns 37 two and a half months from now -- he can still be the most unpredictable and dangerous man in the Octagon. It's just that actually getting him in there seems to be a big hurdle.

For now, we’re left to assume the next time Silva decides to do so, it’ll be opposite the Sonnen-Bisping winner this summer, possibly in that 100,000 seat soccer stadium in Sao Paolo we keep hearing about. We’re left to assume Sonnen is just blowing smoke. We’re left to assume that Silva will be healthy and if anybody in the world knows what’s really going on inside his head, it’s UFC brass.

As part of the five hours of live TV the organization has blocked out on Fox and Fuel this Saturday night, though, it would be great to hear from the middleweight champion, wouldn’t it?

You know, just for clarity’s sake.

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