As far as Michael Bisping is concerned, Chael Sonnen has officially jumped the shark.
The two are set to meet in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 2 Saturday. During Thursday’s pre-fight press conference, Sonnen paraded around a phony UFC title belt, claiming he took it from middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Near the end of the conference, Bisping stated after he’s victorious, Sonnen “can keep his fake belt and shove it up his a--.”
In an interview with QMI Agency, the brash Brit said Sonnen’s shtick has hit a low point.
“I take everything that Chael Sonnen says with a pinch of salt,” Bisping began. “He’s a serious fighter, but outside of that the guy’s a bit of a joke.
“I wasn’t going to sit there and compete for time on the microphone and this and that. He was doing all the talking. He was talking out of his backside and unfortunately his verbal diarrhea is starting to overshadow his fighting ability. For me, he’s starting to look like a fool. He’s becoming the court jester of the UFC.”
Though Bisping is tired of listening to Sonnen proclaim he’s the “undefeated and undisputed” champion, he doesn’t feel the controversial middleweight is taking him lightly.
“I’m assuming that he’s preparing very diligently and I assume he’s trained very hard,” Bisping said. “But that said, he does somewhat appear to be absolutely obsessed with Anderson Silva. He says he doesn’t want to talk to him or give him any air time, but that’s all he talks about. Now he’s walking around with his belt, pretending (to be champion). Come on. He lost to Anderson. He says he’s undefeated, but Demian Maia submitted him.
“Of course he’s a great self-promoter, but he’s also delusional and should just shut the f--- up for a minute or two now and again.”
One of the criticisms often lobbed at Bisping is he’s never beaten a top 10 middleweight. Though he’s currently riding a four-fight win streak, the British striker was only booked into the No. 1 contender bout with Sonnen after Mark Munoz was sidelined due to an undisclosed injury.
A decisive victory over the man many consider the second best 185-pound fighter in the world would certainly put that claim to rest.
But if you think Bisping hasn’t beaten any top guys, he begs to differ.
“(Sonnen) beat Brian Stann in his last fight, submitted him, his only stoppage in the UFC,” Bisping said. “Anderson Silva submitted him. Demian Maia submitted him. Who the f--- else has Chael Sonnen beaten in the top 10? Let’s not talk about me and my top 10 opponents. Let’s talk about Chael Sonnen and his top 10 opponents. Who are they? Because I don’t know who they are.
“Oh, (he beat) Nate Marquardt. Meanwhile I fought Dan Henderson, Matt Hamill, Chris Leben, Denis Kang, Dan Miller, (Yoshihiro) Akiyama, Wanderlei Silva — I’ve fought the who’s who of MMA.
“People need to do their homework before they open their mouths with such nonsense.”
Regardless of who earns the right to face Anderson Silva, UFC president Dana White has already confirmed the bout will be held in Brazil. Though he would prefer to challenge for the title in the United Kingdom, Bisping admits the market isn’t as lucrative.
“It’s my dream to fight for the title in the UK,” Bisping said. “I understand the UFC’s business model. I’ve been around it a long time and know a bit more about what’s going on. Being from the UK myself, I know there isn’t a massive pay-per-view culture there. So the UFC, every time they put a fight on there, you could almost say they’re losing money because they could sell that bout on pay-per-view in the U.S. and generate a lot more income.
“I understand that and I’ve come to terms with that.”
Bisping said he hasn’t spent much time visualizing how the fight will play out. After all, it’s no secret what Sonnen’s intentions are.
“He’s going to try and take me down, I’m going to try and knock him out,” Bisping said. “It’s as simple as that, really. We’ll see who is more effective.
“He only strikes to close the distance. If you think he’s underrated with his striking, I’m underrated with my wrestling and jiu jitsu. I’ve fought many wrestlers and I’ve been victorious in every area. I’m co-main event on FOX. So the UFC knows what I’m doing and I know what I’m doing. I couldn’t care less what Chael Sonnen brings to the table on FOX. I’m going to focus on what I bring to the table.
“Hopefully I get the job done and shut up a lot of people.”
HACKER WAR ESCALATES
The war between the UFC and Internet hackers has been kicked up a notch.
Last Sunday, a group called the Underground Nazi H4ck3rGr0up redirected users from UFC.com to UGNazi.com in retaliation to the UFC’s support of the now-shelved U.S. anti-Internet piracy bill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
Following Thursday’s UFC on FOX 2 pre-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White threw more fuel on the fire, challenging the hackers to do it again.
“I’m not afraid of the Internet; it’s a place where cowards live,” White told interviewer Ariel Helwani. “Them hacking our site is the best thing that could have even happened to us. Now you look like terrorists.
“You guys just flipped the switch ... This bill that looked like it was going to be dead — you might have brought it back to life.
“Do it again. I don’t care. You don’t scare me, Internet.”
The main hacker taking credit for the attack, @joshthgod responded by releasing White’s alleged personal information, including his social security number, a list of residential addresses, a vehicle identification number and a personal phone number.