Chael Sonnen has been accused of talking his way into a coaching position opposite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as a shot at the champ's belt.
Whether he did or didn't, Sonnen hasn't slowed down when it comes to talking up his fight with Jones, which takes place next week at UFC 159 in New Jersey. Sonnen rolled out a Twitter campaign that put him on a 30-day countdown – or rather 30 days of Jon Jones putdowns – leading up to their fight.
Jones, however, says he's not taking the bait.
“I'm realizing that me talking trash really does nothing for the fight,” said Jones on Tuesday night's edition of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV.
“I have seen some of Chael's countdown Twitter feed, but I think I stopped reading it at about day 27,” he declared. “It doesn't fuel me anymore. It's foolishness really.”
Foolishness or not. Trash talk or not. Jones hasn't remained silent during the lead-up to UFC 159. UFC Tonight guest host Dominick Cruz questioned Jones about a recent UFC video in which he commented on Sonnen, saying that he lacked a championship soul.
Jones' explanation may not have been trash talk, but it certainly was a headline grabber that fans the flames of controversy as the fight draws closer.
“Chael Sonnen is a guy, people know he's done steroids throughout his entire career,” Jones stated. “Probably the reason why his testosterone is low now.”
Testosterone replacement therapy has been a hot-button issue in mixed martial arts over the past couple of years. Much of the discussion about it's use in MMA was launched into the public conscience due to Sonnen's use of the therapy to treat a condition called hypogonadism and his battles with the California and Nevada athletic commissions to allow it, but still gain licensure to fight.
There are numerous causes for hypogonadism, which range from genetics to various diseases and disorders to radiation to steroid use. The latter of which is what Jones is saying probably caused Sonnen's hypogonadism.
Sonnen has always insisted that his is a medical condition and has even lauded UFC president Dana White's recent crack down on fighters that are getting therapeutic use exemptions (TEUs), but abusing them during training because they feel they have a “free pass.”
Jones, however, has consistently spoken out against fighters being allowed TEUs for testosterone replacement therapy, whether it is induced by performance enhancing drug abuse or Father Time.
“Basically, I believe if you’re healthy enough to play a sport, you shouldn’t take any performance enhancement drugs or testosterone. Fighters make a lot of money in their 20′s, make a lot of money in their 30′s, and when they get in their 40′s, unfortunately, you’re in your 40′s,” Jones said during a media conference call last August.
“You should fight the way you fight when you’re in your 40′s, switch your style up to stay in the game. I don’t think you should be able to take a drug to pretty much give you the strength of a 30-year-old again.”
That has carried over in his comments about Sonnen's testosterone replacement therapy, although he obviously attributes Sonnen's need for therapy not to age, but the abuse of steroids.
“I don't think that is the heart or the attitude of a champion,” Jones explained. “So that's what I meant when I said he lacks championship soul.”
(Follow Ken Pishna on Twitter @KenPishna)