You don't need to go to the judges' scorecards to see who's winning the war of words between Chael Sonnen and Anderson (The Spider) Silva.
While Sonnen (24-10-1) has unleashed an all-out verbal assault in the lead up to their middleweight title fight at UFC 117, Silva (26-4) has kept his lips sealed.
However, just because the fight is right around the corner, doesn't mean Sonnen's done ripping into his opponent.
"I don't think Anderson has any fans," Sonnen said on a recent UFC conference call. "He's the only guy in the world who's been a champion for four years, never beaten in four years, and is only sponsored by one company. Nobody sponsors him, nobody puts their name on the guy, and nobody wants to dress like him, act like him or be like him.
"I, on the other hand, have a number on sponsors, a number of merchandise that's got my name on it and they're some of the best sellers out there. I know who the fans are behind.
"I'm the toughest guy in the company -Ė period. There's never been a guy with earrings that could out-tough me and he's not going to be the first."
The two are set to headline UFC 117 from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Saturday night. The show also features a co-main event between welterweights Jon Fitch and Thiago (Pitbull) Alves.
Silva has seen his name dragged through the mud following his bizarre unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia at UFC 112. As the bout reached the halfway point, Silva began clowning around in the octagon and refusing to engage his opponent. At one point, he even fled as Maia (11-2) charged forward.
Following the five-round debacle, UFC president Dana White said he would fire Silva if he ever fought like that again.
Sonnen said his comments don't stem from Silva's in-ring antics. He simply doesn't care for the middleweight champion as a person.
"He's got the right to employ any strategy that he feels is going to get his hand raised at the end of the night," Sonnen said. "So I don't really care about that. I don't believe in these things like sportsmanship and honour and all this crap that you guys like to talk about. I think it's a fight, go out there and do whatever you want.
"I just don't like him -- that's it. I don't offer an apology and I don't need to give an explanation. We can't all get along. He and I aren't going to be friends. We're going to go out and fight and that's it. I don't wish him a bad life. I don't hope anything bad happens to him. I'm going to take his belt on Aug. 7 and Dana's going to fire him on Aug. 8."
At the call's outset, Silva gave only one-word answers regarding Sonnen's trash talk. However, in the closing minutes he finally opened up on the subject.
"I just don't choose to promote the fight like that," Silva said through his manager and translator, Ed Soares. "At the end of the day, we're going to go out there and we're going to get in a fight. We're going to throw blows and we're trying to finish the fight. So I'm going to be focused and try to finish the fight as quickly as I can. That's what people are paying to watch. People aren't watching to see people talk s--- about each other back and forth. Fans are paying to watch people fight.
"I really don't have much to say because there isn't much to say about this. Win or lose, I'm going to go out there and do my job and fight. Chael's talking a lot of s--- and it's just not my choice to talk s--- before the fight."
Sonnen said MMA fans don't just tune in to see two people throw down, they want to know the story behind the fight.
"This is just Anderson yet again," Sonnen began. "He truly believes with the answer he gave a moment ago that people are tuning in to see a fight and not see anything else. He really means that. He feels like he's taking the moral high ground. He couldn't be more wrong.
"Does he know anything about business? Has this guy ever done anything? That's not what people are tuning in to see. People don't just want to see two people fight. They want to know why they're fighting. He comes on here and says something stupid as if he's saying some Nobel Prize-winning statement. He couldn't have this industry more backwards. It's shocking that he actually believes (that) and stands there with chest out like we should all pat him on the back and go, 'Good job, Anderson. You're training really hard.'
"Well guess what, dummy," Sonnen said, now directly addressing Silva on the call. "I've been training really hard since I was 9 years old, and I still have time to bring interest to people seeing me whip your ass on Aug. 7."
Despite all the criticism he's received, Silva said he shouldn't have to apologize for his performances.
"The fans are fans," Silva said. "A lot of the time they're cheering one minute, then they're booing you the next minute. A lot of the time, the fans are the greatest thing ever, but sometimes fans don't really understand what's happening inside the ring. So I don't really blame them for reacting some of the ways they react.
"As far as all the stuff Chael's been saying, I actually think it's funny."
Sonnen said he isn't trying to get a laugh out of Silva. He also claims his comments aren't designed to generate hype.
"If you take pro wrestling, a guy goes out and does an interview he creates," Sonnen said. "He rehearses it a few times and he sends it out there. That's called hype. It's BS. It's garbage. It's phony. You guys come to me with questions and I answer your questions. That's it. I don't go out and shoot a promo on my own and then air it. I don't ask myself questions, so that I can get the responses I garner. You guys ask questions and I answer them. That's it. I don't think that's hype. That's the fight business. If two people are going to fight, let's give them a reason to watch.
"You've got to understand, I could drag Anderson Silva outside the hotel and beat him up any time I want, but I've made a commitment to wait until Aug. 7 and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure millions of people watch me do it."