Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans are friends, but that doesn’t mean they won’t fight each other.
The two are set to face off this Saturday at UFC 167 as the co-main event to George St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Sonnen said that for the sake of the sport, friends should fight each other if need be.
“Rashad and I have both been through this. It’s the way that it goes. And we’re both veterans in this sport. It’s incumbent on us to set the example. It would not be a good example for leaders like Rashad and I to refuse a contest against each other.”
Sonnen emphasized that fighters need to think about what’s good for the sport, not their own selfish needs.
“The sport and the industry would come to a standstill if fighters started picking their own fights. You’ve got to compete against everybody. If Rashad and I can set an example for other guys and let people know you must go compete, that’s our role.”
In Sonnen’s opinion, to fight your friend for the sake of the sport is one thing, but to fight a mentor who has trained and taught you everything you know would be crossing the red line.
“You have to understand this. Matt Lindland, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson…these are the guys who trained me. These are the guys who gave up their time, away from their families, away from their own hobbies, to prepare me.”
Following his fight against Evans, Sonnen will coach the next season of TUF Brazil against fellow middleweight Wanderlei Silva.