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[VIDEO] Chael Sonnen Talks Anderson Silva, Sports Psychology, and Damn Near Everything Else on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’


(Little did Zach Galifianakis know that this would be the most awkward episode of “Between Two Ferns” to date.) 

As has become public knowledge by this point, there are two sides to Chael Sonnen. Two sides that, while vastly different from one another, combine to form a charismatic, well-spoken, yet incredibly polarizing mixed martial artist. The fact that Sonnen manages to effortlessly shift between these two paradigms when hyping a fight, giving a post-fight interview, or relentlessly tearing apart a Canadian reporter is only a testament to his ability to enthrall while repelling, to pique one’s interest while simultaneously drawing their ire. This may sound like a bit of “nut-hugging” as the MMA blogosphere likes to so eloquently put it, but there’s no denying that Sonnen is truly a unique individual, and one who could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves without batting an eye.

But the Chael Sonnen that sat down with Joe Rogan as part of his infamous (as far as podcasts go) “The Joe Rogan Experience” was not the fight-hyping, pro rasslin’ “Oregon Gangster” that many fans can’t bear the sight of. Instead, for over two and a half hours, Rogan managed a feat that perhaps no other interviewer, journalist, or low-level blogger has even come close to: He managed to bring out the sincerity in Chael Sonnen.

And it was nothing short of fascinating.

Not fascinating in a “what’s he going to say next?” kind of way, but rather in a “man behind the myth” kind of way, and to put it simply, it stands above any other Chael Sonnen interview I personally have ever seen. The two dished on everything from Sonnen’s turning point as an MMA fighter (which came as a result of hypnotherapy, believe it or not), to Dan Severn’s infamously terrible work against Shannon Ritch, to Chris Leben’s batshit crazy childhood. But none of it felt forced, or fabricated. The Chael Sonnen that sat down with Rogan was endearing, empathetic, and above all else, realistic, and a kudos is due to Rogan for managing to bring that out of him.

Take this tidbit, in which Rogan asks Chael what he honestly would have expected had his rematch against Anderson Silva taken place in front of the eighty-some thousand fans in Rio as originally planned:

It would’ve been a scene. I don’t think they could’ve controlled it. They swore that they could, they’d have presidential security there, they were planning on having the President of Brazil there, so they’d have their secret service. It’s like, ‘guys, you can’t do it.’ There was just a soccer game and 73 were trampled to death. You can’t control a crowd when they decide to storm, you just can’t. It’s displaced responsibility. You can’t control that, especially when I’m the main event. And the relevance to that is, it means the beer started pouring five hours earlier. So now your not only talking about an insightful crowd, you’re talking about a drunk crowd. 

Rogan pushed on, asking Sonnen what he thought would have happened had he beat Silva in his home country, and it was here that Sonnen truly opened up.

I think it would have been bad. I think it would have been very, very bad. And I would not have backed off one bit. Because I’m not gonna change; I’m gonna dance with the one that brought me. I’m going to be aggressive, I’m going to be in your face…I’m going to do my job as soon as Bruce Buffer gets out of my way. And I can’t change, I don’t know how to change. This is what I’m programmed to do. I hate to talk like one of those maniacs, ‘I’d have given my life blah blah blah,’ but Joe, I swear to you, hand to God, I’d have given my life to win that championship if I had to. 

Let’s not forget, this isn’t tough guy talk. I signed the contract to go to Brazil to do the fight, and in my heart I thought, ‘I don’t know how this is gonna go.’ I made my mother promise she wouldn’t go. My mother doesn’t get it, she’s an older woman. She’s got a ruby or a diamond on every finger, you know, you don’t go into South America like that, let alone a fight. It was just one of those deals, but look, this is what I’m gonna do. 

Check out the full podcast below. The conversation in question starts somewhere around the hour and a half mark, but I’d recommend you check out the whole thing.

-J. Jones

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Kimbos Bread- May 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm
why does Sonnen look anorexic in the pic?
RwilsonR- May 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Did you guys forget to revoke MRuss' passwords when he left? It seems like he's fucking with comments again and deleting shit from joe sons balls.
The12ozCurls- May 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm
I'm pretty sure there is a woman out there that would literally like to delete joe son's balls
ArmFarmer- May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Ctrl C your comment every time. If it prompts you to log in, do so, then paste your comment back and hit post. Problem solved. Unnecessary step? Sure, but it solves the problem.
Fried Taco- May 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Joe has a special way of getting the best out of his interviewees. It starts with "here, have some of my homemade brownies."
DangadaDang- May 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm
@joeson
You might be having login issues. You have to login before you post a comment or it wont show up. As far as the hypnosis goes, he says he was hypnotized BY his sports psychologist. Hope this helps.
joe sons balls- May 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm
ill try yet again. anyone else have comments that no longer show up(not that anyone will see this)? i dont remember him ever saying 'hypnotherapy', i remember him just saying 'sports psychologist' or something like that. big difference.
Caralho- May 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm
Interedasting.
Zescape- May 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm
"...stands head and tails above any other..."

Please tell me you're joking with this crap. If not, get your analogies together, or you'll find yourself stuck between a rock and a half-dozen.
DangadaDang- May 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm
Nope, just typo'd that sumbitch.
The12ozCurls- May 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm
Damn dude, you just can't f#@king win, I swear. Well written piece and it compelled me to want to listen. There - a little pat on the back.
DangadaDang- May 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm
It's cool, the check cashes either way. NOW GET YOUR HAND OFF MY FUCKING BACK.
RwilsonR- May 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm
Wait... they PAY you, Danga?
The12ozCurls- May 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm
Nikolia Valuev thinks you need to shave your back - now get in the kitchen and mix me up a hand grenade & warm up some Hot Pockets.
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