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By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor
Anderson Silva snuffed out the Chael Sonnen heel character at UFC 148 on Saturday night. The fight basically played out the way I thought it would, with Silva getting a second round TKO. Chael Sonnen the man may continue fighting, but he'll do so more like his true self, and that's a good thing. I've never denied that Sonnen is a talented fighter; I'm not a huge fan of his style, but it can be effective. The guy's a good wrestler, no question. His stand-up and submission game isn't quite up to snuff, but Sonnen is good enough that he can beat a lot of fighters.
Sonnen's head trainer, Scott McQuarry, had planned on filing a complaint against Silva but decided not to when he found out that it wouldn't have changed anything. It's a situation where Sonnen needs to talk to him, because this made him look bad, especially when the evidence is clear that Silva's knee didn't hit Sonnen in the face.
The best thing Sonnen could do right now is to make a face turn. He already started the process by being gracious in defeat. Hearing Chael Sonnen say, "The better guy won tonight" and saying that Silva is a champion and a great fighter would have been unbelievable a short time ago. Peeling back that layer on Sonnen puts him in a different light. He's never going to be the loveable guy, but he can become the likeable guy for many.
A lot of people don't remember that Charles Barkley was a huge jerk when he was a player in the NBA. He reinvented himself by reeling himself in just a bit.
The best thing Sonnen could do right now is go into hiding for a while. He's overexposed and needs to lay low for a while. He should stay out of the public eye and not do any more interviews outside of Tuesday's on Fuel TV for about two months or so. Then, he can come back and say that he's a new man, totally dedicated to winning that elusive championship. Sonnen can still trash-talk some if he wants, just don't go as far as he used to or as outlandish.
This is assuming, of course, that Sonnen decides that he wants to continue fighting. It's common to hear talk of retirement after a demoralizing loss, but Sonnen said he won't make that decision yet, and I think he'll fight for a few more years.
The number one thing that stops Sonnen from being labeled a true choker is that he's lost to the greatest of all time. Against everyone else, Sonnen has been pretty good lately. Not great, but pretty good. The second fight wasn't like the first fight, where Sonnen choked away a big advantage. In the second fight, Silva just came out and took the fight. Silva did what he does and makes it look easy. Sonnen's comically bad spinning back fist was just a desperation move, and by that point the fight was over. Silva had already stuffed Sonnen on a handful of takedown attempts, so what else could he have done at that point? It's not like he could have stood there and tried to strike with Silva, that's just asking to be made into a poster or highlight reel.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It's like that scene in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Sizemore's character runs out of pistol ammo and throws his gun at that Nazi after being shot in the leg. What else could he have done? Yeah, it's laughable, but you do whatever you can. Sonnen's only hope was to catch Silva off-guard and there's no way Silva was expecting Sonnen to throw a spinning backfist. Unfortunately for Sonnen he looked like a three year old with new shoes and stumbled to his defeat.
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