After leading the charge for over a decade in being the ultimate showman, Chael Sonnen feels that Mixed Martial Arts is finally catching up to him.
“We’re in the entertainment era of MMA,” Sonnen told FIGHT SPORTS on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a really good place to be. when you’re putting on a product through all (major) organizations, close to 100 times a year. In a 52 week calendar year and you almost got 100 products out there, I think the entertainment is more important than ever.”
Sonnen, who gained notoriety in the UFC for his trash-talk, especially in his rivalry with Anderson Silva, claims that unlike today’s fighters, what he says and what he feels is real.
“I would never manufacture something,” Sonnen said about his method of hyping fights. “I would never say something that wasn’t real, but my idea of respect is different than other guys. Other guys think it is respectful to lie, to bow in-front of your face and then put a knife in your back.
“I will tell you to your face that when you turn around ‘I’m gonna put a knife in your back,’ and then I will.”
Sonnen was that way on Tuesday, in regards to his opponent Lyoto Machida, who he headlines Bellator 222 with on June 14th from Madison Square Garden. The former UFC title contender was respectful of Sonnen’s abilities, but claimed there was a personal issue that he wanted to resolve in avenging losses suffered to Machida by teammates Dan Henderson and Randy Couture.
“I think it’s a fight that needed to happen,” Sonnen told FIGHT SPORTS following the press conference. “The first time I was offered this fight was in 2011, I’ve had my eye on this guy for a long time. I admire his style in many ways, it’s not one that I can do. I would encourage other guys to copy him… I wanna beat him.”