We are used to seeing Chael Sonnen trash talking Anderson Silva or taking his opponent down with his superior wrestling and punching him in the face for 15 minutes. It may however surprise you that under that trash talking / old school WWF bad guy persona there is a genuinely nice person.
Under the bright lights and the large crowds that the UFC attracts he morphs into the sort of fighter that mows down opponents and verbally berates any one in the immediate area he doesn’t like when the fight is over.
Following his victory over Brain Stann at UFC 136, Sonnen delivered what I believe to be one of the most entertaining post fight speeches in MMA history declaring that ‘Anderson Silva is ducking him’ and talking about upping the ante if he receives a rematch. You would have half expected him to throw down the microphone, run backstage punching anyone who got in his way before speeding off in a monster truck back to his hotel like some sort of 2011 answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Instead once the cameras were off him he treated one young UFC fan to the night of his life.
These quotes have been taken from MMAMania.com
“I took my 11 year old son, Ty, to UFC 136. He is a huge UFC fan and we travelled from NJ to go to the Fan Expo and attend the fight. After Chael’s victory, my son approached the security gate to get his autograph. Chael lifted my son over the gate and took him behind the scenes where the other fighters were either recovering from their fight or preparing for an upcoming battle. A security guard brought me back as well, and what followed is a father/son moment that we will both never forget.”
Chael took off his wraps and signed them for my son. There are professional photo sessions taken immediately after the fight, Chael included my son with him in the photos. He then took us to each locker room, introduced us to the fighters and had them sign Ty’s shirt, hat, and program. We then were allowed into Frankie Edgar’s locker room where he was warming up for his title fight. Frankie stopped his warm-up and spent time talking to my son and signing various items. We returned to our seats to watch the final two fights. Chael had the security people take us to a section where UFC fighters sat who were not fighting that evening. Each of them signed my son’s program.
Chael was a gentleman and gave my son an experience that he will never forget. The entire UFC family could not have been more accessible and friendly. I’m sure that there is not another group of professional athletes that would be as inviting to an 11 year old boy during an event. I will always be a Chael Sonnen fan after seeing his heart warming interaction with my son.
When I first read about this I called bulls**t on the whole story and refused to believe it. But then someone linked to a Youtube video on another site.
Watch Dana White’s UFC 136 Vlog, which clearly shows Ty hanging out with Chael. Ty thanks him for the experience and you can clearly hear Sonnen tell him that ‘they are just getting started’.
Ty and Chael appear around the 5:28 mark.
I also found this fan photo of Chael and Ty on a forum.
Here is another UFC fan talking about meeting Sonnen:
My wife is young and crippled by M.S. When we met Chael you could tell he wanted to be extra nice to her and show her a fun time. He is a total gentleman, like 95% of the fighters. Anyone that listens to the crap he says and doesn’t just laugh their ass off is clearly a poor judge of reality and character.
Sonnen a nice guy? That is going to take some getting used to for a lot of MMA fans.
In all honesty anyone can see that 90% of what he says is schtick and it all stems from when he was a little kid and loved professional wrestling. He will even do imitations of Macho Man Randy Savage and other wrestling icons of that era and MMA fans don’t even realise he’s paying tribute and think he’s just being a d**k. Sonnen is merely a child at heart and is trying to make the fight game as much fun as he thought it would be as a child.
As much as the mainstream media and detractors want to criticise this sport, there are many more heart warming stories like this than there are negative one’s. These are the stories that the MMA media and fans should be publicising, not the bad ones.
Chael Sonnen I tip my hat to you!
Have you ever met any professional / semi-professional MMA fighters? If so what were they like? Let me know in the replies. Thanks for reading, cheers.