Forget everything that’s ever been said about Ultimate Fighting Championship star Anderson Silva not doing enough to promote his fights.
Whether those criticisms got through to the longtime middleweight champion or he’s simply weary of Chael Sonnen’s bashing him and his native Brazil, the normally mild-mannered Silva sounds as if he’s auditioning for a future in pro wrestling while hyping his UFC 148 rematch with Sonnen on July 7 at the MGM Grand.
Upon joining a conference call Monday, Silva came right after his nemesis by alluding to Sonnen’s 2011 guilty plea to a money-laundering charge.
“First of all, Chael is a criminal. He’s been convicted of crimes, and he doesn’t deserve to be in the octagon,” Silva said through a translator. “And when the time comes, I’m going to break his face, and break every one of the teeth in his mouth.”
UFC president Dana White has called the rematch the biggest sporting event of the year and expects the event to do more than 1 million pay-per-view buys, and Silva’s words can only help that figure. Silva retained his belt in their first meeting in 2010 by securing a triangle choke in the final round of a fight Sonnen dominated for more than 20 minutes.
“I don’t live in the past. The things in the past are in museums. Play time is over,” Silva said. “I’m going to beat Chael like he’s never been beaten before. There’s no more talking. I’m going to beat his ass out of the UFC. He’s never going to want to fight again after I’m done with him.
“It will be the same as the first fight. The first time we fought, he stepped out the loser, and he’ll step out the loser again. The only difference is that he’ll have to see a plastic surgeon after this one.”
■ EMELIANENKO RETIRES – After knocking out veteran Pedro Rizzo in the first round Thursday at St. Petersburg, Russia, 35-year-old heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko took the microphone and announced his retirement to an adoring crowd that included Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Emelianenko’s career included a 27-fight winning streak, but he never signed with the UFC because of a variety of issues between the organization and his management.
Emelianenko did compete under the Strikeforce banner, but his winning streak was snapped by Fabricio Werdum in 2010 before he lost his next two fights and left the promotion.
Emelianenko, who won his final three fights, exits MMA with a career record of 34-4. Most of his major fights came in Japan, where he rose to prominence as a dominant force in the Pride Fighting Championships.
■ SOFTBALL JONES – UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is scheduled to participate in the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities.
The game will be played on July 8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., and air July 9 on ESPN.
In addition to several celebrities and former major league players, Jones will participate along with Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.