Chael Sonnen wears a lot of hats these days.
In addition to being one of the top draws for the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts, he's also an analyst for the UFC on Fox broadcasts as well as the co-host of UFC Tonight, which airs on Fox Sports 1 weekly.
While those elements certainly serve to keep him busy, the one task Sonnen never hits the pause button on is his role as ambassador for the sport of mixed martial arts and the organization he competes for. "The Gangster from West Linn" is a mainstay in MMA headlines and has risen to become one of the most visible personalities and sought-after interviews in the business.
Sonnen has the unique ability to take over any room he's in. Whether he's part of a panel of other fighters during a press conference or coaching on the UFC's reality series The Ultimate Fighter, the Oregon native has the power to command attention at all times.
Over the past four years, the mercurial former title challenger has become a lightning rod of solid gold sound bites and controversy as he's battled his way to the forefront of the sport. From calling out the entire country of Brazil to picking fights with two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA history, Sonnen's value in the UFC fold is undeniable.
Sonnen has a full plate these days. Up first will be a highly anticipated bout with Rashad Evans this Saturday night at UFC 167, which will be followed by a grudge match with long-time rival Wanderlei Silva where the two rivals will first assume coaching roles in the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, which is set to take place in early 2014.
While things are certainly going full tilt for him at the current time, Sonnen will eventually decide to hang up the gloves and call a wrap on his fighting career. Dana White believes Sonnen still has several years of fight left in him, but the UFC President feels there could be a possible administrative role waiting for him once he retires.
White addressed the matter on Thursday when speaking with the media following the press conference at UFC 167.
"I could see that," White said. "The thing I like about Chael is he's a motivator. He's a smart guy and he knows how to talk to fighters. He knows how to talk to the public."
In addition to the roles Sonnen has assumed, White also addressed the issue of how many broadcasting opportunities are opening up for MMA fighters around the globe.
I'll give you an example with Cung Le. He was the "me" of China and thank God we sent him over there. He did a phenomenal job for us in China. It's one of those things I always talk about in combat sports where as the sport continues to grow, the athletes have so many more opportunities.
Look at how many sports broadcasters there are now. Brian [Stann] is doing college football. Fox has hired on a lot of these guys and now even ESPN is hiring UFC fighters to cover the sport. Michael Bisping is doing a deal with BT and they are talking Dan Hardy now about being a sportscaster. The opportunities for these guys are huge. What other combat sport does that? Roy Jones is on HBO. If you look at how big boxing is, I don't see too many of their fighters getting these kinds of opportunities.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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