Hours before Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 162, Chael Sonnen stood on a Las Vegas stage and answered questions from fans. The questions ranged from brand building to retirement and touched many topics in between.
Sonnen handled the fan inquiries for almost an hour. Bleacher Report was on site for the Q&A session. What follows are some of the highlights:
On How to Build a Brand
“If I was to tell you how to build your own brand. First thing, when you are asked a question, remember you are not under oath. I don't answer questions; I handle questions. Second, don't ever apologize for anything. If you're a grown up and it comes out of your mouth, stand by it.”
Jon Jones Fight
"I do. I do think it was stopped too early. I was surprised when they stopped the fight. You know any time you're in that type of competition, whether you agree with it or don't agree, you give up when you walk out. I won plenty of fights when they stopped them too early. So, it goes both ways. You got to understand, I stayed to fight. I walked out of the ring. That's more than you can say about Jon Jones. His little piggy went to the market. I'm supposed to be impressed because he got a couple of takedowns? "
"I'm 36 now, so every time I get hit with 'is he going to retire, is this the last one?' Anderson Silva gets hit with it. Dan Henderson gets hit with it. Randy Couture dealt with it for over a decade, and I think it's fun. One of my goals is to reach where those guys were, to compete at a high level later in life. I don't mind it. I still have a fight left on my contract. I will always honor my contract.
I don't fight just to fight, I want to fight to be champion, and I'll take on all comers."
Earning Title Shots
"This is America. You take what you can get, when you can get it. If I want a fight, I'm going to go out and pick a fight. There were others guys that were in line before I was. That's just the reality, they all said no. I talked my way into the fight with one word, I said yes. They asked me if I wanted to fight Jon Jones. I said, 'yes I do.'"
How to Deal with Doubts
"I really think you need to envision what could possibly happen out there. People will tell you 'oh, I never doubted myself.' Well, that's just ridiculous, of course you did. That's okay, you have to make that walk anyway, and sometimes you're going in there thinking 'man, this guys got better skills than me.' If you're a bully, you'll stay in the back, but if you're a gangster, you'll make that walk anyway."
"LeBron James knows where that stems from. He's been invited to the show, and if he comes tonight, I'm going to beat his ass and put picture up on Twitter. I'm telling you that now for the lawsuit. He's been warned. I would have beat his ass at the last show if I could have got to him. He knows what he did, ask him."
"Vince McMahon made his offer. I told him he could shove it up his ass. I'm not for sale. I made my choice a long time ago, and I'm with the UFC for life."
"Steven Seagal is an interesting guy. You don't see much more of this anymore. Guys were saying, 'Steven Seagal is teaching me moves, and Steven Seagal's my master.' He was paying those guys. That was a sponsorship. Steven Seagal ran out of money, and these guys have run out of compliments. Pretty weird coincidence, don't you agree?"
Jon Jones Pizza
"You're talking about the chicken special, loaded with cheese. We even deliver. We'll bring a six pack of beer so you can avoid a DUI. That was a big seller. We ran out of cheese, chicken and beer after that one."
Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman Weigh-In
"That was romantic, wasn't it? What a sweet and beautiful moment those two had. I have to tell you that I liked it. I thought the whole thing was interesting. I really liked how Anderson just kept walking forward. Nice and slow. He never stopped going forward. I thought it made the whole weigh-in fun."
"As far as the Rampage thing, he was in the UFC, and I like fighting guys in the UFC, so it just made sense. There are a couple of entitled punks that are out there. There are a couple guys that you will never see at an event like this; that will never give their time back or any kind of appreciation. They only want to come on the other side. No matter what you give them, they only want more, and that's a bunch of crap, so I was going to give him more. More of this, but I couldn't get him in there. I did everything I could do, and he wouldn't show up. As soon as I get done with Shogun [Rua], I'm going right after Jon Jones."
"The toughest fight I had was Yushin Okami. I had some other ones. You know, Jon Jones, I was only out there four minutes, and I got whipped, so that was quite easy actually."
"There is a new one going around. A guy named Shogun walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender says, 'That's neat, where did you get him?' The parrot says, 'Brazil.'"
*All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report.