Like Howard Stern, Fans Always Want to Know What Chael Sonnen Will Say Next

August 15, 2011
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In the 1997 film “Private Parts” about the rise of shock jock radio DJ Howard Stern, the movie focused on his meteoric rise to the top of the ratings while irritating just about everyone from the FCC to his bosses along the way.

A scene in the movie depicts a poll asking Stern fans why they listened and the most common answer given was “I want to see what he’ll say next.” When Stern detractors were asked why they continued to listen despite hating him, the most common answer was “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

If Howard Stern has a counterpart in the world of mixed martial arts, his name is Chael Sonnen.

Much like Stern, Sonnen played the game of being politically correct and answering questions the “right way” for years, but somewhere along the road a light bulb went on in his head that simply pointed out sometimes talking about what people want to hear isn’t what you should say.

From that moment on, Sonnen has been on a verbal tirade attacking at will and speaking his mind about a myriad of subjects including past opponents, future opponents, and just about everything in between.

Sonnen’s comments are often seen as hilarious and satirical, other times they are seen as hurtful and unnecessary. One person who sees all sides of Chael Sonnen and the blowback from his wide variety of comments is his manager, Mike Roberts of MMA Inc.

Roberts has worked with Sonnen for several years and known him even longer, but despite his clients propensity for saying whatever is on his mind, he’s never once thought about censoring or asking his fighter to amend what he says.

Sometimes he does have to ask if he’s serious however.

“I don’t call him up and say ‘did you just say that?’ I’ll give you an example, he just came and stayed at my house about a week and a half ago, he attended Urjiah (Faber’s) golf tournament and we stayed up late talking one night and just talking about life. I asked him a couple of times on stuff, do you really mean what you said?” Roberts told MMAWeekly Radio.

“I do have moments like that where even I have to ask him ‘are you serious?'”

Sonnen’s antics have made him one of the most well known fighters in all of MMA. He’s become possibly the most sought after interview in the sport, and love him or hate him, everyone is curious what Chael Sonnen is going to say next.

“With Chael we get so much fan mail for him and it’s 50/50. Half the people love him and half the people hate him, but either way he’s relevant and people care. They either want to see him win or they want to see him get his butt whipped,” Roberts commented.

“Chael’s relevant, people care, they want to see him fight, and that’s good for business.”

Getting Sonnen back to fighting was no easy task. After dealing with a suspension from the California State Athletic Commission, as well as Federal money laundering charges, Sonnen had to take some serious time away from the sport and change some things to get back to fighting.

Now scheduled to face Brian Stann at UFC 136 in October, Sonnen is happy to get back to the business of fighting to earn a paycheck, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be talking along the way.

“We spent a lot of hours and days and months working to get Chael back fighting again, and honestly Chael just wanted to fight. He wanted a chance to compete,” Roberts explained. “My personal opinion, I’m not sure if Brian Stann wins if that makes him the No. 1 contender, but if Chael goes in and has a dominant performance like we’re expecting, I would certainly think he’s in the mix.”

Through it all, Roberts has stood by Sonnen each step of the way and from comments where he told former Pride Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic that he’s been carried out more times that Chinese food to his absolute blasting of Wanderlei Silva over the past few months, his manager stands beside him no matter what.

“I’ve seen a couple of interviews lately where it gave me a good chuckle and a good laugh. With Chael right now you don’t know what you’re going to get. You can get the crazy Chael that’s going to say whatever is on his mind, or you might get the super intellectual Chael that wants to break down fights and talk about guys on a straight up level. For me, he’s equally entertaining each way,” Roberts said.

“I don’t always agree with everything that he says, I’m not sure he means everything that he says, but when he does the straight-up interviews, he’s one of the most knowledgeable guys in the sport. He’s one of the most knowledgeable guys I know in the business.”


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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@DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.


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  • wonggfan

    This is not true.

    MMA fans do not really care about what Chael is going to say next.

    There aren’t too many Chael Sonnen fans. He is not a popular fighter. When asked about a favorite UFC fighter, most say Jon Jones, Cain, JDS, Shogun, Lyoto, GSP, Anderson, or BJ Penn. It is rare to see someone claim to be a Chael Sonnen fan. So..yeah..Chael Sonnen fans want to know what he is going to say next.

    How is this article newsworthy?

    • Machterf5

      You’re dumb as hell. There are plenty of Chael Sonnen fans. And the article was about whether you’re a fan or not, people are interested in what he says. Chael Sonnen interviews = hits on a web site.

      You clicked on the article, so you must’ve had some sort of interest.

      • wonggfan

        Not necessarily.

        I clicked on the link, logged in, and left a short negative comment. And this some how shows that this is newsworthy?

        If you haven’t noticed, most of the pro-Chael comments on this article are from Chael Sonnen fans. I doubt the existence of 3 or 4 supporters on MMAWEEKLY means this article is newsworthy.

    • afk

      more proof that not only is wronggfan an ignorant moron but also that this article was entirely correct lol.

    • tsszaltax

      The fact that you took the time to not only read the article, log in, AND reply about the story proves this writer is correct. He said “love him or hate him”….it doesnt have to be about him being someones favorite fighter or being a fan….you could hate the guy to death but when he fights, you’re gonna watch and cheer for the other guy. Either way, people see the guy and remember him and thats the point of the story.

    • mmavu

      Shutup hater. Chael Sonnen is awsome. Only true fight fans appreciate Chael. He is very intelligent and yes he has alot of experience with this fighting business. Don’t hate on a true fighter who has balls to talk shit and then beat up classless fighters like Anderson Silva. You probably rather enjoy watching Anderson DANCE after his victories.

  • Jmoney

    this guy should be a comedian… his interviews are funny as hell.. and 1/2 the time you really dont know if he really means what he says or he’s just being an asshole. love him or hate him his fan base is still growing.

  • devine22

    You cant knock him for speaking his mind!! We still have the Freedom of Speech in this country! Wait i dont think they took that from us yet??? Hope he wins his next fight an fights Thunder for the belt

  • j-k-martin

    He’s very funny and he is one of the best in his division. What else do you want.
    http://thinkmma.blogspot.com/

  • Mario

    Hmm, no.

    I would have to agree with what wong, or whatever his name is said.

    I personally could give a shit less what this guy says. I didn’t read the article. I just disagreed with the heading and simply wanted to post my comment stating otherwise. Chael Sonnen isn’t even funny with the nonsense he rants. I don’t get why people think he’s funny.

    He sucks as a fighter, too. He can’t finish his fights. All he does is grinds out decisions.

    That’s boring.

    No wonder he started ranting. It was the only way he would ever get any attention.

    2 years ago, did anyone care about Chael Sonnen?

    Not really.

    I still remember the days when he got submitted with ease by Demian Maia.

    • mmavu

      Shut up Mario. You just proved it that you are a true Hater not a true fight fan. Real men enjoy fighting words so go turn on the tv and rewind Anderson Silva’s dance after his victories.

    • wonggfan

      No one cared about Chael Sonnen two years ago. In fact, I first learned about this guy when he fought Paulo Filho three years ago.

      When he came over to the UFC, most of the UFC noobs didn’t even know who he was. But UFC noobs have tendency to jump from one bandwagon to another.

      Btw, it’s funny how the term “UFC noob” came about. In 2000, I remember calling people “Pride noobs” when they said Mark Coleman was the best fighter ever after the Pride Grand Prix.

      Question for the true MMA fans. Prime Saku vs the current Chael Sonnen. Who takes it?? I think prime Saku could take this guy on given Saku’s record against wrestlers with mediocre punching power.

  • Jmoney

    If you actually did watch when he fought silva…he was trading with him and had silva in trouble…silva was rocked and then pullin guard against him.you can’t really talk shit about the guy on top doing nothing…cause at the same time silva was just layin there

    • Unador

      Maybe so, but Silva was there looking for the win.
      Chael was there just doing time, waiting it out. Trying to secure his decision, not his win. And he went to sleep, let his guard down. Was confident he had the decision and got careless and got subed.
      It’s one thing for a great fighter to get ‘caught’ with a knockout punch, or slick submission.
      It’s another thing for a fighter to claim greatness that succumbs to his own carelessness. That’s not something great fighters do, that eventually become Champion.
      Chael is no champion. He lost to Demian Mia. With full knowledge that this guy had just submitted three of his team mates. And he specifically entered that fight to put an end to Mia’s sub streak, and to show that his ‘team’ was the real deal.
      and he got submitted
      like a noob
      he sux
      next please

      • Cptmats

        Your just a hater ! Prob Silvas biggest fan and it pisses you off that for 24 min and thirty seconds Chael absolutly punished Silva and will prob take his belt soon !

    • wonggfan

      Umm…throwing off Anderson Silva with an elementary one-two combo is not the same thing as rocking Anderson Silva.

      Chael fights like a dog when he is on top of someone. But you have to be pretty stupid to disagree that he lacks punching power.

      • Cptmats

        UMMMM you have to be pretty dumb to make that argument…..the whole world watched him Drop Silva with a right hand…..not just rocked…..dropped !

        • wonggfan

          Look man. We can agree to disagree. I don’t see the point of arguing.

          Anderson Silva has never been knocked out but that is mostly due to his speed and elusiveness and not necessarily his chin. We don’t know what would happen if Anderson gets clipped by a guy like Nate or Hendo right on the chin.

          I know what you are talking about. I thought it was more like Anderson pulling guard to get his composure back. It wasn’t dropping Anderson.

          Also, with Chael it’s always, “oh…I hit so and so hard but unfortunately I lost the decision.” If he truly rocked Anderson Sliva….why is it that he lost?? I thought KOing an opponent was one way of winning a fight in the UFC.

          • Cptmats

            No he dropped him cleanly !

  • Gus84

    I remember being a lil kid and brazil and loving “vale Tudo” it was the most awesome thing in the world … I remember how awesome pride was…Then the UFC come along and WWE’s the sport and you add a bunch of Americans that just found the sport and claim to know everything about it… Then you add Chael Sonnen that should really be Either a stand up comedian or should really apply for a position in the fake funny wrestling organizations.. You know what? UFC and it’s American fans spoiled MMA … I don’t need the UFC and cheal sonnen and I really don’t need the American dumb ass fans… Just give me back pride an you can have it all back…. And a big F U to all the band waggoners and WWE(“UFC”) lovers out there…

    • tsszaltax

      Americans spoiled MMA and you cry for Pride? One of the greatest Pride champions ever is an American dumbass. One of the most popular fighters in Pride was American. I love people that stereotype an entire country……

      • Unador

        er? who?
        Wasn’t Wanderlie the face of pride for a long time, most recently. Untill he finally moved up to the UFC.
        and he aint American.

        • Machterf5

          They said “ONE of the most popular fighters in Pride…” Not “the face of Pride.”

          Don Frye is who they were referring to.

          • wonggfan

            I highly doubt he was referring to Don Frye. Don Frye was never popular in Japan. In the beginning, the three most popular fighters in Pride were Saku (by far), Coleman, and Igor. During the peak of Pride the three most popular fighters were Fedor, Cro Cop, and Wanderlei.

            During the last days of Pride, Pride had an amazing HW and LHW rosters. Fedor, Nog, Cro Cop, Barnett, Werdum, Sergei, and Aleks. The fact that Werdum/Sergei/Aleks would have been evenly matched against prime-Sylvia/Arlovski was just impressive. Pretty much the holy trinity of the HW division was considered untouchable.

            Shogun, Wanderlei, Arona, Rampage, Alistair, Sokoudju, Lil Nog, and Hendo. This was an amazing roster comparable to, if not better than, the UFC roster which was Chuck, Tito, and Randy.

            So, back to the original point. The dude was probably referring to Dan Henderson. And if that is the case, he is truly a UFC noob. Hendo was NOT one of the most popular fighters in Pride. He was less popular than even Rampage/Arona. And those two were not the top superstars. The top superstars were in the following order: Fedor, Cro Cop, and Wanderlei.

      • wonggfan

        I would not call Hendo one of the greatest Pride champions. He was one of the weakest Pride champions.

        Hendo lost to Lil Nog, Arona and Wandy. And his second match with Wandy was after Wandy vs Cro Cop, the fight many MMA fans consider as the pivotal moment of Wandy’s career. (and ironically Cro Cop’s career!).

        Hendo was the champ at 185 when Paulo Filho didn’t compete. That 185 division in Pride was newly created and 170lbers like Ryo Chonan participated in the tournament.

        Hendo does his job. But would not call him the greatest Pride champ. The greatest Pride Champs were Fedor and Wanderlei, followed by Nog and Gomi, and then followed by Hendo.

    • mmavu

      First of all..Ju jitsu sucks and truely is for the gay so shut up and go watch your idle Anderson Dance in his tights. Real men strike. Pride was just pure entertainment. The UFC proves who is the best. Period.

      • Gus84

        Dude ur an idiot … Most pride fighters did not do good in the UFC because of rules and also because they were past their prime… What happened to chuck when he fought there? Yeah if you had a pride vs UFC with pride rules back in 05/06 none of the UFC fighters would have survived… Ppl who say pride suck was because they really didn’t know MMA back then… I can name a least 30 of the most exciting fights in the history of the sport and they were all pride battles… If you ask me what I know about MMA? I’ve been watching bare knucle fights every since I was 8 … I come from Curitiba brazil were chute boxe is from and I’ve seen all those guys fight from the beggining .. I know MMA and I love the sport.. Again F U… I’m not stereotyping a country and Im a fan of chuck, rampage,Jeff monson, etc… What I’m saying is there is a bunch of Americans that think that the UFC is a sport and is all there is … Chael sonnen sucks and that a fact.. Look at his record it speaks louder than words…

    • Cptmats

      #1 The UFC was around long before Pride
      #2 Pride may have been Better at the time but todays UFC is a far better organization with a much deeper talent pool than Pride ever was !

      • Cptmats

        And BTW wongfan once again you are dead wrong ! Don Fry was huge in Japan and has prob the most memorable fight ever with Takayama !

        • wonggfan

          Umm..that Takayama fight was a freakshow…..

          No one took that fight seriously.

          Look man. Out of the ex-UFC guys that went over to Pride, Mark Coleman was the most popular guy. Don Frye, Randleman, and Shamrock had a buzz when they first went there but they were never superstars.

          Would you say Don Frye was more popular than Rampage in Japan??? FYI, Rampage was never a superstar in Japan, although he did enjoy some level of popularity probably on the same level as Josh Barnett.

          • Cptmats

            It may have been a freak show but that’s a lot of what pride was about ! The show ! And yes Rampage was a superstar in Japan and still is and Don fry was a Huge star because of his personality, The Japs loved him especially right after 911 when he came out with an American flag wearing a shirt that said Terrorists Suck…..and while we’re at it So was Hendo !

        • wonggfan

          Dude, you sound like a guy who just recently ran into Frye vs Takayama on youtube.

          Frye was not well paid by Pride. In the beginning he was brought on as an American bad-ass. And that was true when he fought Japanese cans. But Pride used Frye as a stepping stone for Yoshida, one of the crowd favorite. Yoshida was WAAAY more popular than Frye but Yoshida was not more popular than Fedor, Cro Cop, and Wanderlei.

          • Cptmats

            Ok First of all Yoshida asked to make his pride debut against Fry he wasn’t used for anything And Fedor may have been a tiny bit more popular than Yoshida but he’s the only one ! Yoshida is a national hero in japan and was clearly the crowd fav in both Wany fights. For such a pride fan you seem to be really confused on alot of its history !

  • itsme

    Wow, that is funny you guys calling Chael “smart”. Bwahahahaaaa. The guy is literally a mental midget and everything that comes out of his mouth is childish jibberish. I couldn’t imagine anyone with an ounce of intellect actually looking forward to hearing what “he says next”. The guy is a good fighter, but definitely an idiot. He should do his talking in the cage, where he actually has talent. Also, real smart getting caught doing steroids (don’t care about his made up excuses) and getting caught up on federal money laundering charges. He’s a cheater, a liar, a criminal and a hypocrite. Isn’t he supposed to be some good conservative christian? I will admit, that is what he is. Conservative Christian = Absolute Hypocrite. Douchebag.

  • Cptmats

    Wongfan please stop copy and pasting from wiki and trying to make like you know something about mma. Everytime you comment you make yourself look stupid !

    • wonggfan

      Hey dude. I do not copy and paste from wiki. I’ve been an MMA fan since the early UFC days.

      I started watching the UFC. Then I switched to Pride and was a Pride fan for many years. Then when the UFC purchased Pride, I became a UFC fan. However, during the post-UFC-Pride merger days, I still followed Affliction and more recently Strikeforce, the smaller organization that had excellent former UFC/Pride fighters.

    • wonggfan

      Lol. You are a funny dweeb.

      • Cptmats

        Quick go look up some more fact on wiki before you get called out some more !

        • wonggfan

          Lol at you. You have no understanding of how the fighters were paid in Pride. Don Frye was paid like a bum.

          Please rank these Pride fighters in the order of popularity: Fedor, Nog, Cro Cop, Wanderlei, Shogun, Rampage, Yoshida, Giant Silva, and Don Frye.

          • Cptmats

            WTF does there pay have to do with anything ? Were talking about how pop. they were not how much they made ! …….How much did Bob Sapp get paid ? Because he was as big a celebs get in Japan !