UFC fighter Chael Sonnen Said to Have Used Plants to Augment His "Trash-talking"


As a fan of entertainment, I'm all for fighters using trash-talk to add some sizzle to the steak of MMA. This is something that has been going on in combat sports for years. I posted a GREAT Muhammad Ali video the other day that highlighted some of his greatest trash-talking (if you haven't seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?) moments. Many of the best trash-talkers were influenced by a certain sort of entertainment which we won't name.

I say all that to say this. When the trash-talk is natural (like say a Josh Koscheck or a Frank Mir), that's when it's most effective. That's why GSP's "I'm not impressed by your performance" still lives on today because it wasn't forced and seemed like a natural way of trash-talk for a nice guy like St. Pierre (and his accent of course). However, when trash-talk comes across as forced and scripted, it comes across as hackneyed. I understand that fighters (like politicians) will have talking points ahead of time that they want to make sure to get across, that's natural. A freestyle rapper is going to come to a battle with some memorized punchlines.

That leads me to Chael Sonnen. As many of you know, I enjoyed the buildup between he and Silva even though I didn't agree with many of the things that he said (and I felt the media was hypocritical in their stances on him versus other fighters), I nevertheless understood that it was done to add something to the fight. And it did. It took what would've been a mundane fight and added intrigue to the fight. Sonnen also became somewhat of an Internet sensation because of it, partially because of his trash-talking and partially as a backlash to Silva, and now seeks to parlay that into a bigger payday.

If you've been on MMA media sites for the past couple days, undoubtedly you've seen the video (or at least reports) of Chael's Q and A that he had where he quipped about Anderson Silva and GSP as well as fighters he'd never face like Brock Lesnar and Maynard/Edgar. In my opinion, it's perfectly fine to trash-talk future opponent or possible opponents, but once you step outside that bound, it gets cartoonish. The purpose of "trash-talking" is to build up future fights. if you trash-talk without a fight, you're just trashing a fighter. Besides that, most of what he said just wasn't funny, but that's just my opinion. That leads us into today's story: Chael Sonnen used plants at the Q and A for the purpose of saying pre-scripted "promos".

Jeremy Botter of said (as written on Dave Meltzer's message board) Chael Sonnen came to him at the Q&A and told him that he had planted "fans" at the event to ask him questions to elicit those "quips" that we all saw on the video. He also gave an example of what unfortunately did not make it to air (as the "fan" didn't make it to the mic):

On Nog pulling out of his fight with Mir:

"I don't have a problem with people calling in sick to work, but how did he know two months ahead of time that he would be out? Is he Nogueiradamus? I don't understand it. But really, they just put in a call to Croatia, because Mirko Cro Cop can fall down in front of Frank Mir just as easily as Nogueira can. And really, they could just dress Cro Cop up as Nogueira and nobody would know the difference. The costume is in the zombie aisle."

Now how incredibly lame it is you have people in the audience asking you pre-arranged questions so you can repeat pre-scripted promos. It'd be like going to a freestyle rap competition and reading off a piece of paper. It kills the spontaneity of it. If you're going to be a trash-talker, be off the cuff, don't have things set up before hand. That's some "Pay your son to accost a girl and then you come in and save her, winning her heart" Martin McFly-type shit. Plus, this is a prime example of trashing another fighter and not "trash-talking" because you're never going to fight any of the aformentioned fighters.

It's a bit too much Pro Wrestling for even me.

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CagesideSeats Addendum: I love pro wrestling and as a pro wrestling fan, I don't mind Chael Sonnen cutting promos. I love MMA and I understand that a little entertainment goes a long way, I do, I really do. I just think that there needs to be a distinction between the two. To me, going so far to set up fan plants is too much pro wrestling in MMA. Yes, I realize that politicians do this all the time and that Chael is a politician. However, MMA is a sport. It would be like TO paying a kid to act sick and walk up to him and ask for his autograph and TO gives him the signed jersey off his back. That's so lame.

I mean this isn't really a HUGE DEAL, it just shows two things, 1) How lame (to me) Chael is and 2) How much more closely related MMA and Pro Wrestling are and how people in the MMA Media are naive for not acknowledging those connections. I'm not a Zach Arnold where I equate everything in MMA to pro wrestling but I will point out the bigger connections.

It's a slippery slope. What's next? Two random fighters deciding to make up an incident to start a "feud" on Twitter to build interest and then going in interviews and dissing each other about how much the other guy is a bitch and sucks and how they can't wait to beat their ass. So the UFC sees this and gives them the opener to the PPV. The two fighters decide that the best "finish" to their "feud" is a stand up and bang fight without either guy going to the ground and to go out and try to have the "Fight of the Night" (which a couple fighters have actually done). That is just too WWF to me and I was a huge wrestling fan.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.