Say what you will about the fighting prowess of Chael Sonnen, you can’t deny though that the man knows how to conduct himself during an interview. In a recent sit-down with Sherdog.com, Sonnen revealed some of the secrets behind his methods.
Sonnen stated that he draws inspiration for his interviews from pro-wrestlers Len Denton and Billy Graham. He added that his best post-fight interview was when he called out Anderson Silva after his bout with Brian Stann.
“Anderson was there, so I got a reaction,” he recounted. “That’s really what you’re after. You want to evoke some type of emotion, especially if you’re calling a guy out. That’s the whole point. You want him to respond. That’s how you get a fight going. It’s no different than when you’re kids in school. If one guy says something to another guy and the other guy just sits there, then well, you kind of feel bad for the guy. I don’t want to see a guy get bullied. But if the other guy goes, ‘Oh, really? You talking to me?’ Well, now you’ve got something to watch. That rule applies here in professional fighting too. It’s the same rule as from the playground.”
“I was just glad he was there and he saw it,” Sonnen added. “I was sticking my finger in that guy’s chest. It wasn’t just a lesson to Anderson to say, ‘Hey, I’m not going away.’ It’s a lesson to the other chickens in the back too. There’s so many guys that are so scared to ruffle any feathers and they want to blend in. It’s like, guys, listen. Don’t ask Anderson Silva for his autograph if you’re a fellow fighter. Don’t go around kissing his ass. You can’t walk around being scared of guys if you want to replace these guys. If you want to be the champion, you can’t be in awe of champions. They’re just people too. Anderson’s got two arms and two legs. He doesn’t get to bring anything into that cage that I don’t get to. Sometimes I feel like a big brother to these guys that’s got to let them know we’re in the fight business.”
“If you want a fight, ask for a fight,” he concluded.
Lastly, Sonnen stated that despite all of this, it’s important to keep things grounded during your interviews. Most important of all, if you “don’t mean it, don’t say it.”
“I’ve always liked to visit with people,” he said. “I’ve always liked to talk and socialize, meet somebody and carry on, so I don’t know that I have necessarily a code as it comes to that. I really just have one rule, and that is, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. There is an entertainment aspect for that, but that’s not what we do here and I don’t want to sell anybody anything that isn’t real. I’ve bought it. I bought Mike Tyson versus Lennox Lewis and listened to Tyson apologize afterwards, say he didn’t mean it. I go, ‘Well, then give me my money back. You’ve got to return my money. That was a lie. I bought this on a lie.’ I watched Josh Koscheck and [Georges] St. Pierre, and Josh Koscheck grabbed the mic and said [he] didn’t mean it. Josh, you’re a liar then. There’s 11,000 fans that bought a ticket because they thought that they were going to see a dispute settled. … It bothers me. It’s insincere. I won’t participate in it.”