Chael Sonnen, professional antagonist

Anderson Silva speaks very little English. While this would normally be a promotional headache, the UFC is fortunate in that Chael Sonnen does enough talking for the both of them.

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Sonnen has worked his way into a title shot against Silva a little less than a month from now, and he's going for the hard sell. There were the barbs against Silva ("a fraud"), against Silva's Black House gym credentials ("a Crackerjack award"), and against Silva's manager, Ed Soares ("world's most famous interpreter"). Antonio Rogerio Nogueira responded, complaining that Sonnen is "not even a real challenger" for the belt. Sonnen read this. He didn't like it.

About Nogueira, Sonnen wrote to Sherdog.com July 7, "You are one sharp dude ... about as sharp as a bag of wet mice. Do yourself a favor, won't you? Have your mouthpiece permanently installed in your mouth so you can't speak at all. Have them feed you with a tube like a coma patient. You're not doing Anderson any good, and you're sinking your own ship, too. You say I'm not qualified to fight Anderson ... which means that the UFC brain trust, that thinks I am, and who also are your bosses, are idiots. And that Ed Soares, Anderson's manager, and your manager too, doesn't know what he's doing. Smooth, guy. Very smooth. ... If you lose a few (you looked like Roy Nelson in a Frankenstein mask for that [Jason] Brilz fight, which you lost, buddy boy), we can scrap in the fall."

It's hard to detect sincerity in Sonnen or any other athlete who understands that the best promotional push is the one they give themselves. Maybe it's all a put-on, or maybe he believes enough of it to keep chipping away. At this point, I'd put the odds of him getting a hug after the fight about on par with getting a free trip to Brazil. But if this guy's pension plan doesn't involve a talk show, it should.