Chael Sonnen is a good fighter, but he's a masterful smack talker. There is no one in the UFC, including president Dana White, who can sell a fighter better than middleweight-challenger-turned-light-heavyweight-challenger Chael Sonnen. He proved that as he goaded UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones into a season coaching "The Ultimate Fighter" and a title fight.
It didn't matter that Jones had a more qualified contender waiting in Dan Henderson, or that Forrest Griffin was already preparing for his December bout with Sonnen. The fight went to Sonnen, the man who could pull in the biggest ratings on a stale show and the biggest dollars on a pay-per-view.
This has fighters wondering if they should be in the gym training or at an improv class, working on their smack talking skills. Henderson tweeted:
I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to [expletive] talking school. @danawhite
Griffin wondered the same when talking to "UFC Tonight."
"I'm not mad at him," Griffin said, referencing Sonnen. "Why fight your way to the top when you can talk your way to the top?"
Who can blame them? They've worked for years in the gym and in fights to get the fights they wanted, but a middleweight stepped in front of him because of his mouth. On a press Wednesday, White said it made sense.
"Basically Jon Jones is out until April. He's going to be sitting around for months anyway unable to fight. So it made sense for him to do The Ultimate Fighter. And everyone has been talking about this fight with Chael so it made sense for them to do TUF and then fight," White said.
Hear that? White said the fight was made because people were talking about it, not because Sonnen earned it. Every fighter on the UFC's payroll should take notice. Talking will earn you a fight when your skills cannot.