Sonnen, Silva exchange war of words at MSG news conference

Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will headline Bellator: NYC in June. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- Bellator MMA held a news conference at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, promoting its first event in New York. And even though one of the two headliners wasn't present, there were still fireworks.

The featured matchup is light heavyweights Chael Sonnen (28-15-1) versus Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC), and Sonnen quickly took issue with Silva only appearing via video linkup on Tuesday.

"It annoys me. Because I feel like Wanderlei got his way," Sonnen said. "It looks like he found a bathroom as a backdrop in the men's shelter he's living in in Rio, and got somebody to point a cell phone at his face. I find it a little bit weird."

When asked about his absence from the news conference, Silva offered little in way of explanation, other than saying, "[Because] I'm training to beat somebody on the 24th of June."

Silva also dismissed Sonnen's trash-talking and sounded confident of emerging the victor come June.

"I hope you're training more than you're talking," Silva said, before referencing Sonnen's most recent fight and adding, "I'm gonna beat you so fast."

Sonnen's last fight did end rather quickly, with Tito Ortiz defeating him in just over two minutes in January. But that hasn't dimmed Sonnen's confidence.

"First off, I made Tito Ortiz scream 'Tap!' in less than 60 seconds," Sonnen said, "and while I suspect that you're gonna be tougher than him, [I'll] still get you out of there inside of the first round."

Sonnen then instructed Silva to address him as "Mr. Sonnen," a request that Silva ignored, not surprisingly.

Silva, 40, and Sonnen, who will turn 40 on Monday, were supposed to face off in 2014, but the fight fell through. Now it appears they'll finally do battle, after each had a lengthy layoff.

Sonnen's fight against Ortiz was his first since serving a two-year drug suspension that began in 2014. Silva has not fought since May 2013, and was suspended in 2014 after refusing a random drug test.

Turning serious for a moment, Sonnen said the fact he has a recent fight under his belt should help him this time around.

"They talk about ring rust -- I didn't think it was a real thing. I can tell you for me it was a real thing," Sonnen said. "And I imagine that [Silva] will stumble a little bit, yeah. If I was to give him some friendly advice, a lot of it is just the speed -- like in sparring, it's just a little bit of a different speed."

There will be four other fights on the pay-per-view card, including a heavyweight bout between Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC), regarded by some as the greatest heavyweight of all time, and Matt Mitrione (11-5), a former defensive lineman who played in nine games for the New York Giants in 2002.

Emelianenko and Mitrione were supposed to fight last month, but it was called off when Mitrione was hospitalized due to kidney stones.

They'll try again in June. But these two fighters struck a different tone on Tuesday, compared to Sonnen and Silva.

"I feel very good," Emelianenko said via translator. "After the canceled fight I've been keeping up the form and staying in top shape for this fight."

"First of all, I feel fantastic," Mitrione said. "Fedor, thank you very much for accepting the fight again, I really appreciate it."