With the biggest fight of his life less than four weeks away and a legion of fans and fighters awaiting his supposed demise, Chael Sonnen has found a measure of solace alone in the spotlight.
On August 7, Sonnen will face Anderson Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 117. Until then, he is insistent on remaining one of the most polarizing figures in MMA. He entertained the crowd with stand-up comedy before UFC 115, but also angered Silva fans with his comic-book bravado. His negativity towards Silva, considered by many to be the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, has also drawn him into a war of words with Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, and teammate Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. In June, Sonnen quietly pulled out of the Oregon congressional race while loudly engaging in an interview fiasco – for lack of a better term – with a MMA journalist.
Heavily repudiated but never duplicated, Sonnen turned up the heat in an open letter to his “fans” on Wednesday:
“Hi, everybody! Remember me? Your ol’ buddy Chael? Y’know I spend most of my time fightin’, which doesn’t leave much time for writin’, but things being what they are, I’ve decided to take a moment or two, and fire up the ol’ Olivetti typewriter, put in a fresh ribbon, and share some of my recent thoughts with you….
Firstly, I’ve gotten a significant amount of feedback regarding my “correspondence” with MMA…..”Journalist” Jon Lane…So….To any and all members of the media: I’m always happy to talk and share my time and ideas with you. And I appreciate your efforts in contacting me, and instead of ‘circling the wagons’ around a “fellow journalist”, for applauding my efforts to….FIX things. Do me a favor, guys. Don’t be so hard on JonJon. He’ll get it. Bring him along, help him out here & there. I kinda like him. And Jon…..No hard feelings. Really. If you re-read our correspondence in the cold, hard, light of day, you’ll see I was trying to….HELP you.
I never expected you to be Umberto Eco; but those questions… guy! I mean COME ON. So buck up, little soldier. If you fall off, just get right back on – even if it’s only a keyboard you’re getting on.
And Lil’ Nog…..I read your appraisal of the upcoming fight betwixt your pal Anderson and yours truly and, I’ll be damned, you are one sharp dude…. about as sharp as a bag of wet mice.
Do yourself a favor: have your mouthpiece permanently installed in your mouth so you can’t speak at all. Have them feed you with a tube like a coma patient. You’re not doing Anderson any good and you’re sinking your own ship too. You say I’m not qualified to fight Anderson…Which means that the UFC brain trust – that thinks I AM and are also YOUR BOSSES — are idiots. It also means Ed Soares – Anderson’s manager and YOUR MANAGER TOO – doesn’t know what he’s doing, either. Smooth, guy. Very smooth. Do you have any other brilliant ideas or scathing critiques you care to impart to the UFC Brass or your own manager? Maybe that shot Sokodjou hit you with was worse than it looked (if that’s even possible).
You seem like a nice enough guy, and I have no real beef with you (Oh, and speaking of beef: If you can turn your disk over at the Rodizio once in awhile and get down to “185,” there’s gonna be a new sheriff there in less than a month who’ll be happy to ride you right back out of town on a rail). So please see this as the kind of well-intentioned advice I would give to a friend or training partner. And if you lose a few (you looked like Roy Nelson in a Frankenstein mask for that Brilz fight… which you lost, buddyboy), we can scrap in the Fall.
And Ed, I saw your recent comments. Not bad work. Hats off. You come across as professional and accountable in every respect…which makes your inability to control, explain or denounce Anderson’s behavior quite puzzling to me. THAT’S one of the main reasons we are where we are with all this: because you can’t make him fight.
You can’t explain why he does what he does and you refuse to give a consistent, rational explanation for it. It’s like you keep trying to sell the kids faulty fireworks that turn around after 10 feet and come screaming back and hit them in the eye or blow their hands off.
Are you aware that you represent the generally acknowledged best fighter in the world in the premier promotion on planet Earth and that the president of that company has promised to FIRE HIM for his behavior?
Aren’t you just a little embarrassed by that?
And that’s got NOTHING to do with me, or even this fight.
Imagine: Your team is on the two-yard line in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, but your star quarterback disregards the head coach’s instructions and calls a play where he throws the ball to a popcorn vendor in the sixth row, then eats a piece of turf and craps in his helmet on the 50-yard line.
Do you know who he’s REALLY mad at? NOT the fans or the opposing team…he’s mad at daddy; he’s mad at the coach!
What causes that encoded hostility?
Is your fighter insane? If he is – and you therefore cannot reasonably predict his behavior – isn’t it incumbent upon YOU to find a way to fix it?
Don’t you owe that to the sport?
To the fans?
To his boss, Dana White?
And lastly… don’t you owe a debt to HIM and his long-term psychological well-being? Shouldn’t you get him the help he needs, before one of his irrational, unexplainable acts causes himself or someone else genuine harm? If he’s irrational and uncontrollable, put him in a psych ward. If he’s fine, prove it by giving a legitimate, rational, explanation for his actions in Abu Dhabi. I’m the one who has to fight him.
What’s going on, exactly?
…OK kids…….Chael has to go get all sweaty again.”