Believe it or not, there is a lot more to Chael Sonnen than what meets the eye.
The first time I ever heard an interview Sonnen gave, I came away with the typical impression of, "Wow, that guys arrogant, far to cocky and pretty disrespectful."
I don't think that's a far cry from what many other people think of the fighter. He is known for running his mouth, making incredibly brash and bold statements, and being more of a showman than a fighter.
To be honest, that is partially why some people love Sonnen and can't wait to hear his next interview, and that's partially why some people hate him.
Love him or hate him, there is no doubt that he is entertaining.
A colleague of mine on Bleacher Report wrote a piece that featured some of the best smack talk moments in Sonnen's career.
Here are some of my favorites. Perhaps they will give you a good idea of the character that is Chael Sonnen:
“Listen Wanderlei, I will do a home invasion on you. I will cut the power to your house. The next thing you'll hear is me climbing up your stairs in a pair of night vision goggles I bought in the back of a soldier fortune magazine. I'll pick the lock to the master door *Chh-chh* take a picture of you in bed with the Nogueira brothers, working on your 'jiu-jitsu.' I'll take said photo and post it to www-dot-dorksfrombrazil-dot-com. Password not required. Username not required. That Wanderlei is how you threaten somebody. Dummy.”
“[Anderson Silva's] got a black belt under the Nogueira's. I think a black belt under the Nogueira's is saying, like, I got a free toy in my Happy Meal. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. One of ’em’s a punching bag, and the other one I just ignore; he’s really irrelevant.”
(After being beat by Anderson Silva)
“In what parallel universe can you punch a man 300 times, he wraps his legs around your head for eight seconds and they declare him the winner?!”
“On the streets of West Linn, Oregon, if you lay on your back with your legs wrapped around a man’s head for eight seconds, that does not make you a winner. That makes ... not a winner.”
Like I said, love him or hate him, there is no doubting that his an entertainer.
Some people find Sonnen really disrespectful though, and that is something that he obviously doesn't agree with.
The funny thing is, I'm not sure that I agree with that statement either.
Sonnen is just saying what he feels, and he's doing his job. Even though MMA isn't anything near scripted professional wrestling that is all show and no sport, they do have many things in common.
Trash-talk is a huge part of MMA, and it's a big way for UFC to create buzz about a fight.
The matchups themselves are incredible to watch, but isn't it so much better when you know the two fighters can't stand each other.
Sonnen is essentially just doing his job: promoting his fights.
Here are Sonnen's thoughts on people thinking that he is disrespectful, according to Steven Marrocco of mmajunkie.com.
"I've had people come up to me and say, 'Hey, you should be more respectful,'" Sonnen says. "Wait a minute. What is our definition of respect? If your definition of respect is lying to someone's face, I strongly disagree with you. You get these fighters that come out and want to say all the nice things that are lies. They don't mean any of them. They say them because they think it sounds nice. So now they're a liar in the name of respect, and then they want to bow to you.
"Look, these guys will stick a knife in your back and not even stick around to clean up the bloody mess. But apparently, in some perverse culture, that means you're being respectful—to lie to someone's face and say things that you don't mean, to behave with mannerisms that are disingenuous, is deemed respectful. I'm not Joe Confrontation. I don't think, 'Hey, if you've got a problem with somebody, you should say it to their face.' That's not what I'm saying. You can keep it to yourself. Follow the rule: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I believe in that. But if you are going to say something, don't come out and say a bunch of lies."
As crazy as Sonnen may be, I do agree with him in this instance.
He does come out and say what he feels, and I do respect him for it. Sure, sometimes it's way out of line and just said to cause a stir, but keep in mind he is just doing his job.
In the end, love him or hate him, aren't you tuning in to see what Sonnen is going to say next?
Even if you aren't, you're going to tune in to watch and see if he can back up those words.
So yeah, maybe Sonnen is crazy, but I think there's more to him than what meets the eye.
He's just good at his job.