Despite not fighting since 2010, Chael Sonnen has kept his name in the MMA spotlight by doing countless interviews, appearing on several talk shows, and continuing to call out fighters such as UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, as well as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Vitor Belfort.
Saturday night, Sonnen steps inside the Octagon at UFC 136 to face a man he has plenty of respect for in Brian Stann, a decorated military veteran who is 3-0 since dropping down to middleweight. The bout could be used to determine the next contender to Silva’s crown at 185 pounds.
Sonnen, who lost to Silva via submission in their meeting in 2010, didn’t seek out the media attention he has received. No, his comments just started becoming more press-worthy as he prepared to fight “The Spider.”
“I’m not doing anything different. The media has found me, I didn’t come find them,” said Sonnen, in a recent interview with the UFC’s website . “I didn’t create a persona or sit around and come up with things to say. I don’t have any idea what you’re gonna ask me, or the next guy or any of the fans at a Q&A. I’m just up there with a microphone and doing my level best. But I haven’t changed anything; they’ve just come to me. I was the top draw when I was with Bodog, I was the top draw when I was with the IFL, and I was the top draw when I was in the WEC, and for all these same reasons. They just didn’t have the platform that Zuffa has. So I’m not doing anything different.”
Sonnen was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after the Silva loss for elevated levels of testosterone. He said it was because of a condition, but many questioned his ethics as he was also under investigation for mortgage fraud. Many believed Sonnen might be done fighting, but not himself, saying, “They can do all they want, but you can’t keep a good man down.”
Being able to train for an upcoming fight has helped motivate Sonnen, even though he has had to keep from using bashing-tactics while talking about Stann, a fellow fighter he respects.
“I don’t have any hobbies and I don’t have any friends, so all I have is practice,” Sonnen said. “All I have is going in and training and looking forward to a date and a new challenge and stuff like that, and it was all gone – I didn’t have any of it. So, I missed the whole process more than anything; I missed being one of the guys and having a goal and something to look forward to.”
Fans can catch Sonnen’s scrap with Stann on the PPV portion of UFC 136 starting at 9:00 PM EST. Other bouts featured on the main card include title-fights involving lightweight champion Frank Edgar (facing Gray Maynard) and 145-pound king Jose Aldo (facing Kenny Florian).
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC