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Does Chael Sonnen Have Your Attention Yet?


(‘Oh, all the free kittens are gone? That’s cool. You might want to take that ad out of the paper. Just, you know, so somebody like me doesn’t get his hopes up only to have them crushed and ground into a fine, depressing powder. But whatever.’)

If somehow you didn’t know who Chael Sonnen was before this week, chances are you do now.  He’s spent the run-up to his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 109 making inflammatory statements about almost everyone but his opponent.  I spoke to Sonnen for this SI.com feature on Saturday night’s bout, and as expected it turned out to be an interesting conversation.  Here, for your enjoyment, are selected outtakes from that talk.

Lately you’ve been making waves with your comments about Anderson Silva, saying he actually speaks perfect English but hates the media too much to talk to them. I guess I’m wondering, if it’s not a ploy to get attention, why go after Anderson now?

I didn’t really say anything about Anderson. All I said is what you said there, and that’s no big deal. Once I destroy Nate Marquardt in a few days I will set my sights on him and I will really let it go. Believe me, when I sink my teeth into this guy, those comments aren’t going to seem like anything. I was making a very fair observation. Anderson Silva speaks English. Any time the media comes around he has such disdain for you guys that it’s ‘se habla Espanol.’ He doesn’t have to talk to the media, and in fact he refuses to, and yet the media goes out and strokes his ego and puts him on the cover of everything. It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen.


All the guys in the locker room know it, and we all laugh about it. Here’s Anderson going, ‘I don’t understand,’ and then there’s the media going, ‘We love you, Anderson!’ when he hates you guys. So I was just pointing out that fact. The people in the media should thank me for that, but nobody did, so there’s the media for you. I don’t care about Anderson in the least. I don’t think about him for two seconds of my day. But believe me, when I sink my teeth into him it won’t be just to out the fact that he speaks English.

As you point out, he doesn’t talk to us much and doesn’t give us much to work with, so don’t you think that maybe the reason the media is so hot on him is because of how good a fighter he is and not his personality?

I don’t know if that’s it or not. I don’t know who he’s beaten in the top ten. He beat up a drunk Chris Leben and a one-legged Patrick Cote and every bum that could get a plane ticket to Ohio. He went up to light heavyweight, but how hard is that? It’s the easiest weight class in the company. He beat up some slow and unathletic guys up there. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he is that good. If he gets past Vitor [Belfort], and I don’t think he will, I’ll sing a different tune. If he can beat Vitor it will change my opinion of him, but until then, I don’t know. I don’t see who he’s beat that’s so great.

He beat Nate Marquardt.

I didn’t see that. Did he fight Nate?

Yeah. Knocked him out.

Oh, I didn’t know that.

Well, he did. And you respect Nate’s skills, don’t you?

Sure, absolutely. I respect Anderson’s too. I respect all these guys and their skills, don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying let’s slow down on this stuff about Anderson being the greatest fighter ever. There’s someone named Randy Couture that you might want to put your eyes on when you’re talking about the greats ever.

Moving on to Nate, what do you think you do better than him?

I really don’t know. I think Nate does everything well. There’s only been a few times when I’ve had to sit down and watch film on a guy and come away scratching my head, saying, ‘Geez, I don’t know what I’m going to do to this guy.’ You know, I don’t know what I bring to the table that shuts this guy down. Nate’s one of those guys. I don’t know what skills I have that are going to come in super handy.

It’s one of these fights where you just have to figure it out. You get in that cage, you’re going to have to find a way to outwork the guy, outhustle the guy, outsmart the guy. Skill for skill, he creates a lot of problems for me. But that’s where the excitement comes in, too. I’m excited to see how I’m going to figure out this puzzle. I’m excited to see how I’m going to handle a guy that’s as strong as he is and as talented as he is. But how will I do it? I don’t know yet.

I’ve heard you say that you don’t have any other choice but to win this fight, and yet you say you have no idea how you’re going to win this fight. It’s this a do-or-die moment for you?

I never said do-or-die, but I don’t have any other choice but to win. I don’t. It’s like, before the fight everyone always asks if you’re ready. Fight week, that’s all you hear. From your family and friends to total strangers, it’s always, ‘Are you ready?’ And the truth is, you’re never ready, it’s just your turn. It doesn’t matter how I feel or if I’m ready. None of this stuff matters. When they call my name I will put my mouthpiece in and I will walk to the cage and I will find a way to win this fight. I’ve done it many times before. I’ve never been ready. I’ve never felt good.

It’s like UFC 108, which people called the cursed card. That card wasn’t cursed, they just lined up a bunch of sissies. All these guys keep pulling out, ‘Oh, I’m hurt. I broke my such-and-such. I got a staph infection.’ So what? What does that have to do with anything? If you said you’d fight, when they call your name, walk out there and fight. What I’ve said is that it doesn’t do me any good to have a close fight with Nate. I’m not one of those guys who says, ‘I just want go out there and entertain the fans.’ I’m not that guy. I’m out there to win the fight. That’s why it doesn’t matter how I feel or if I’m ready. When they say fight, I’ll fight and I’ll expect to win.

Do you feel like you need to win a title in order to be happy with your career?

Yes, absolutely. I don’t think anybody’s ever had a good career that didn’t win a title. I think if you never won a title, you just quit, but you didn’t retire. It’s been that way in my own wrestling career. In wrestling, if you don’t win a world or Olympic title, you can’t retire. You just have to quit the sport. So I had to quit wrestling, because I couldn’t win the world title. If you don’t win the title, you’re just in the way. Right now I’m just in the way, so I have to win the championship.

Do you think that you have the striking skill and the power to not only win the exchanges with Nate, but knock him out?

I could definitely win the exchange, but I’d be surprised if I could knock him down, let alone out. Unless he’s got a glass jaw that I don’t know about, I’m not going to be knocking him out. But yeah, I could certainly win the exchanges. I’m faster than Nate is.

You might be the first fighter I’ve ever talked to who doesn’t claim to think he can knock his opponent out.

That’s because MMA fighters are a bunch of meatheads and somewhere along the way it became the cool thing to say you could knock a guy out. That never seemed cool to me. I don’t see what that has to do with anything. I’d be disappointed if I could knock him out. I mean, if I did, then great, but I want to go home and look at my DVR and see myself on TV for a long time. If I can get the full fifteen minutes, that’s what I’m going to do.

Again, I’ve never heard a fighter say he wants to go the full fifteen minutes.

That’s because everybody else is lazy. That’s the God’s honest truth. These fighters who say, ‘I’m looking for the finish,’ they’re not looking for the finish. They’re looking to get out of there because it’s really hard work. These lazy fighters who don’t want to have to go out and grind for fifteen minutes, it’s not pleasant, but that’s the business we’re in.

(BF)

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WalterHurricane- June 12, 2010 at 5:49 am
Who is Chael Sonnen?
C-rad- February 7, 2010 at 9:27 am
Well most of these comments are obviously posted by A.S. Fans. There is absolutely no problem with that at all. All sports fans will defend their favorite teams/players/fighters if someone is bashing them.

I had only seen Sonnen fight once before last night and yeah, it was pretty lackluster. However last nights performance against Nate was pretty dominent (although Sonnen did get caught A few times).

Regardless of how he acts or what he says, he deserved that win last night and he deserves to be one of the top contenders.

I personally don't think that he would be able to beat silva or belfort but he earned his chance. But, you never know what can happen in the octogon. Nate WAS heavily favored last night.
Off topic slightly: did you hear Joe Rogan talk about his conversation with sonnen? Sonnens quote was " I'm a republican, I don't lay on my back with a man between my legs."

that's some of the funniest shit I've ever heard.


Komodo- February 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm
I couldn't even read all of it. Just a little too knobby :þ
Joe Hogan- February 6, 2010 at 10:08 am
Removed double comment.
Joe Hogan- February 6, 2010 at 10:06 am
That card wasn’t cursed, they just lined up a bunch of sissies. All these guys keep pulling out, ‘Oh, I’m hurt. I broke my such-and-such. I got a staph infection.’ So what? What does that have to do with anything?

This is fucking gold.

You hear that gentlemen! When Sonnen has a staph infection and broke a leg, he's not acting like a pussy and just enters the ring. That shit doesn't have anything to do with it. No doubt!
Spidey Sense- February 6, 2010 at 6:07 am
Bad guy from an 80s movie. Cobra-Kai!!!!!!
I hate mat-burn- February 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm
Sweet objective interview
P2- February 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm
This newfound attitude compliments his whole "Republican" persona quite well. He's like the bad guy in a teen movie from the 80's. Nate has to beat him, or they're gonna sell The Goondocks!
Randy Pan- February 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm
A mildly successful publicity ploy. His mission to hype his fight up has left him without much dignity. Sonnen has been listening to too much Rush.

I remember how Sonnen expressed distaste at Okami's refusal to engage in a smack-talk exchange prior to their fight, explaining that a fighter has to work to hype up his fights.

If he wasn't saying so much nonsense, it would be easier to call him articulate. I think his proximity to Couture and Henderson's fame has fucked up his head. He wants a lick of that brass penny so bad. Too bad he can't finish fights.
Spidey Sense- February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm
Harry Nips - Well played, Sir. I should have known to factor Bisping into the MWs. It'll take him years to work off the rep he earned for himseld on the TUF show, then double that again to make up for the fact that Hendo blasted the first eleven years of his memories out of his head.
Spidey Sense- February 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm
I've solved the Chael Sonnen riddle - The only possible explanation is that he is, in fact, from Bizzaro World. That explains everything.
Harry Nips- February 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm
Douchebag list:
HW- Frank Mir, LHW- Tito (no contest there), MW-Bisping (there are alot of candidates in this division),WW-Dan Hardy, LW- Diego Sanchez by a landslide.
Spidey Sense- February 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm
Well, Samurai, we're pretty much on the same page as far as douche status across the divisions, but since we're going all out, I gotta make some adjustments--> for WW I give the edge to Kos. That guy could offend a room full of people just by walking past it. And Nate Diaz takes the cake for king of the douches in LW for me. He'll remain there until he has the skills to back up what his mouth is doing, since his attitude and mean mug aren't enough. Tito will always be the greatest, grandest and most complete DB of all time for me. He's the fucking Wayne Gretzky of DBs.

Speaking of douches in general, will somebody please get Jonathan Goulet the fuck out of the UFC? I've been watching this hump do nothing for the sport for years now, and every time the camera catches that eye of his that looks like a runny egg yolk I get the willies and want to barf all over the living room. Yecch.
Harry Nips- February 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm
Sonnen's a Team Quest fighter who must have absolutely no respect for Hendo b/c he lost to Silva too. He seems like a drama queen to me.
NateGetsIrate- February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm
You know what? Fuck this loudmouth! I haven't even read this article but im pretty sure i know how it went down. This piece of shit thinks talking crap is gonna help put some dollar's in his pockets. Only one faggot can pull that off and his name's Perez Hilton. I can't wait to hear about how bad he got beat down, because i'm not gonna watch this douchebag be on the recieving end of KO of the night. I wouldn't want him to get any of my ppv money.
rockpaperscissorkick- February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm
"he has such disdain for you guys that it’s ‘se habla Espanol.’" Doesn't Anderson Speak Portuguese just like almost all the other Brazilian fighters? Or is he faking that also? God I hope Marquardt knocks this guy out.
budsellers- February 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm
just watched his fanhouse interview with mma fighting and chael told ariel helwani that he was just kidding when he said that he wanted to see himself at home on the dvr for up to 15 minutes, but his delivery was about as straight and non-comedic as a 12 inch ruler.
easy11019- February 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm
My suspicions that Sonnen is a narcasistic douchebag have just been confirmed. Thanks Cagepotato
mma samurai- February 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm
Thanks spidey. As far as swallowing a gun in the bathroom, we can onlly hope. It's funny the more everyone started talking about heels I noticed there is at least one stand out douche cannon in each division. Sonnen arguably the MW champ here (the only time he'll ever be MW champ mind you), Matt Hughes is the reigning WW (Koschek is a close second in my opinion), Tito is the obvious LHW king there, Brock Lesnar at heavyweight (hey he is the first guy in the UFC to hold two titles at once!) and as far as the LW's go I'd have to say Gray Maynard based solely on his bitchassedness for not stepping up and fighting BJ given the chance (this one is tough because there aren't too many douchey dudes at LW). There you go CP there's an article for you, "Top 10 Douchebags in MMA of All Time". This is where Van Wilder reminds you to write that down.
Monstrosity- February 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm
i believe the part about anderson just not wanting to talk to the media. don't really care but its probably true.

the rest of this interview was him trying to be a heel from the WWE.
Spidey Sense- February 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm
but wait, tito is still king of the douches. sonnen has many miles and years to go in order to achieve ortiz's level of douchebaggery. matt hughes is living pretty comfortably in this club too, now that i think about it.

i'll submit that sonnen does not know how to speak spanish or portugese, and that he can't he be expected to tell the difference between the two. i mean, i can't tell the difference between russian and czechoslovakian when i hear them. it's a moot point though, 'cause he looks like a DB for commenting on silva and getting the language wrong. it made him look stupid. and ignorant. thuggish too.

let's get to the bottom of whether or not silva can speak english though. that is the one nugget of any value in that whole mess of an interview.
kaig223- February 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm
Holy shit that was funny
Spidey Sense- February 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm
mma samurai - nice comments! although i must disagree - i think that will be the look on his face as he gazes into the emptiness behind his eyes, in a cracked bathroom mirror in a chevron station, right before he eats a hollow-point out of a colt python .357. or, something like that. he may hang himself.

wow, what a jerk. i could say douche, asshole, ignorant big mouth whatever, but i feel that jerk is the most all-encompassing, simple yet profound word to apply here.

here's a prediction, in elemental terms (since chael-rhymes-with-fail thinks he's so badass): his name will be called, and he'll go into the octagon in a not feeling too good and not exactly ready state. then nate's gonna enter, and sonnen's gonna look at him and wonder if, when they go to the bottom of the well, will the beast be down there? well, you're going to know the answer to that when nate beats you so hard that you wish you had never been born. it's going to hurt, it's going to leave a mark, and it's going to be humiliating when you watch the video on your bigscreen later on. there's not gonna be any recovery for sonnen, and dana's gonna drop him like a shitty rag.
Dante- February 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Anyone who is mad is a terd. SONNEN FTW
ghostboner- February 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm
I used to dislike Sonnen, but that interview was hilarious. I will give him his props for refusing to hug anderson's nuts, even if his reasoning is total poop, and also for refusing to talk up his KO power and calling all the fighters lazy meatheads. Funny shit! I am still going for Marquardt though because he is the man.
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