“Attention is no longer a byproduct,” said Sonnen. “Your real goal is simply to stand out. It is very, very difficult to stand out. When we all play the same sport, in similar weight categories under the unified rules, how do you stand out, how do you do things differently? So I think that’s kind of what people should be spending time on, and when you say that one guy can’t be another Conor McGregor, you’d be amazed how many guys don’t understand this concept. Conor begins to wear suits and a bow tie; now we have other guys showing up in suits and bow ties. No, the bow tie market was taken … by him. These are little things, but if you’re trying to make a gadget violation and be like another guy … there are ways to rip someone’s gadget. You just have to put a number of years in between, then you can go ahead and do it. “
Sonnen laughs, but it’s serious business, and hearing him talk about it is a fascinating look at one of the great storytellers the sport has ever seen. And that’s the secret there, as far as he is concerned. Tell the story and the rest will follow.
“If I had two messages, none of my messages would be going there and talking about litter,” he said. “And I know I made myself known for that, but that’s not my goal. This is how I went to reach the goal. The goal was, first, to tell a story. This is what promotion is. And second, understand that we could be in the sport of combat, but we are in entertainment, so go ahead and have fun. “
Chael Sonnen has entertained us for many years, but it may have been ten years since he first hit a nerve in the fighting game. So how does he remember 2010?
“If I have had the slightest regret in my time in sport, it is that I have never enjoyed it,” he said. “And I look back now, and I say,” How did you not enjoy this? “It was so much fun, and my girlfriend at the time – who is my wife now – came with me on all these things and we had so many great memories. But at the time, we never enjoyed it It’s very stressful in this sport, it’s extremely hard work, and the more directions you take it just means the more random places you need to find a gym for your workouts, a random place to get training. food, to sleep a bed somewhere. It was just one of those things where, in hindsight, I am so grateful and I never even realized all the opportunities that I had or maybe opportunities that others didn’t have it. I thought everyone had a similar schedule, and I never liked it. I’m looking back now, and I would do anything to be back in some of these places. I never realized that The rare experience was never to reproduce. “
For more information and updates, subscribe to the UFC newsletter here.