Listen up, religious MMA fighters: The UFC’s Chael Sonnen has a few scriptures for you when it comes to MMA living.
“Don’t bring up God,” Sonnen exclaimed. “As a devout Catholic I’m tremendously offended when somebody acts as though God is playing a hand in a fistfight on Saturday night. Newsflash people: God has better things to do.”
Sonnen made the Chaeligious comments in an interview with MMA Mania.
Sonnen, probably the best fighter in the UFC to never win a championship belt (other than the fake one he sported for a year after almost defeating Anderson Silva), has boosted his profile in recent years through trash-talking and comedic-like hijinks.
His popularity led him to back-to-back title shots against Silva and Jon Jones, both fights he was KO’d in. Sonnen, however, kept his career alive with a stunning submission victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua last August and will fight Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in November.
Sonnen said in the interview that MMA fighters shouldn’t take themselves too seriously.
“These guys are fist fighting in a steel cage for a paycheck and the applause of a drunken audience,” Sonnen said “Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.”
Although he’s fighting Evans, Sonnen is currently tangled in a feud with Wanderlei Silva, whom he’s said “stinks” and is a coward.
In the interview Sonnen also said that fighters need to be authentic and act like themselves. Fans don’t like phony fighters. Sonnen said he has meant everything he ever said.
“Mike Tyson is probably the best example,” Sonnen said. “He does this huge build up for Lennox Lewis. He bites him at a press conference, he talks about his children. The second the fights over he takes the microphone and he’s apologizing saying, ‘I didn’t mean that, it was all hype.’ And I’m sitting there going, ‘Well, you owe me $50. You stole it. I paid my $50 for what I now know is fraud.’ And that’s wrong. That’s wrong to do, and I would never do that. If I don’t mean it, I won’t say it.”
Sonnen said he uses a lot of pro wrestling material to hype fights, but that the best material is original and comes from the heart.
“If [I say something] about the actual fighter to pick a fight, that’s between me and him,” Sonnen said. “If the fans get in on it then fine, but I don’t make it up, ever. And there’s a lot of times where it just doesn’t exist. I do not manufacture that stuff, and I hate it when other people do because it’s dishonest.”