UFC 148 Fight Card: We Need More Athletes Like Chael Sonnen
Athletes tend to be some of the most boring interview subjects. If caught before their game or event, they usually spout some boring platitude about how they respect their opponent and that they will do their best to come out on top. Sometimes they’ll even throw in some vague statement about how well prepared they are for the approaching contest.
The postgame/event interview is not much better, just more drivel about how the best man/team won and again how much they respect their opponent. Oh yeah, don’t forget God if the interview subject is the winner; these days it’s almost a prerequisite to give a shout out to the almighty.
When someone does actually speak their mind or at least gives an honest answer, they are often looked at as a troublemaker or labeled as having an attitude problem. That individual is looked upon as someone that gives the opposition some kind of “locker room bulletin board” material that they can then use as motivation to defeat that individual or his team.
The paycheck, job security and shear desire to win don’t seem to be enough for some professional athletes; they need that extra motivation of an opponents words to motivate them.
And then you have UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, a fighter who says enough outlandish things that UFC president Dana White has said that he has to have press conferences after the press conferences Sonnen is involved in just to cover the things that Sonnen has said.
Sonnen, while maybe not one of a kind, is in an elite group of salesmen, athletes that make you want to tune in for their exploits before, during and after whatever event they are participating in.
Some say that Sonnen’s talk is too much show, too much bombast and bluster, too much WWE and not “real” enough. Thinking like that entirely misses the mark.
For the athletes that participate in sports, that sport is their job, it’s a way to make money and provide for their family while they participate in an athletic endeavor, that’s pretty simple to understand. For the rest of us, those that stand on the sidelines or surround the Octagon, it’s entertainment, and neither of those facts is lost on Chael P. Sonnen.
Sonnen has two jobs with the UFC; the first is to get you talking about his fight. He needs to get you interested in tuning in to watch him battle. The more people talking about him, the more he moves the needle on his career, the more money he can potentially make both inside and outside the Octagon.
Sonnen had once aspired to a political career, but with the federal money laundering conviction in his past, that career is not going to happen. The real estate career that he had begun, that’s not going to happen either. Sonnen needs to earn his cash now and he knows it and he wants you to tune it to see him fight and he’s doing his best to make that happen.
That covers his first job—getting you to care about his fights. His second job is performing inside the Octagon. In his second stint with the UFC, Sonnen has gone 5-2, losing to Demian Maia and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
While he doesn’t have the greatest record in the UFC, when you combine his ability to do his first job, selling the fights with the admirable work he has done in his second job inside the Octagon, he’s been able to set himself up for a second battle with Anderson Silva, a fight that will take place at UFC 148.
The upcoming fight, on July 7, is the most anticipated fight of the year, and the reason why is that Chael Sonnen has done his job, he has sold this rematch since losing to Silva at UFC 117 back in August of 2010. Sonnen has made fans want to sit at home on the July 4 weekend and fork over $55 to watch him and Anderson Silva fight for the middleweight crown.
In a world of boring athletes who have all studied the same interview scripts, we should all take time to celebrate those athletes like Sonnen, athletes that make you want to watch them compete. And let’s face it, love him or hate him, Sonnen makes you want to watch him compete.
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