Chael Sonnen Back in the UFC!

Chael Sonnen

Sonnen has always been cerebral in his approach, he is just more brash now.

This past week, former UFC Middleweight contender was back on the internet ranting about his return to the Octagon after a year off due to PED and legal issues.  love him or hate him, Sonnens brash talk has earned him a reputation among UFC followers.

At this point, it has to be said that Sonnen’s attention grabbing with a microphone is smart.  And Sonnen is smart, dont get that wrong – he is one of the brightest fighters in MMA.  some have said too smart for his own good, and that might be the case at times.  But at this point it’s about making money so Sonnen should keep talking all the way to the bank.

Since the beginning of his career Chael has always been confident, but he wasn{t always a talker.  I was recently reminded of a great mind game Sonnen ran on an opponent a long time ago.

March of 2004, at a small event in New Jersey called Euphoria, he faced Arman Gambaryan, a tough, experienced Russian.  The promotion itself was run by Russians, and the Russian team, in what was a ‘USA v Russia’ billed event, was extremely confident.  Gambaryan especially was happy and exhuberant, and Sonnen picked up on it right away.  His mind games started early.

Sonnen was quiet and aloof.  At the live events and conferences around the show where Gambaryan was, Sonnen removed himself.  He was a no show, and for all appearances wanted no part of Gambaryan.  Gambaryan’s confidence soared.  The promoters were worried about Sonnen and whether he would even  fight.

Sonnen no showed the weigh ins.  He was found in his room at the Trump Taj Mahal playing a Playstation.  He had forgotten?  Are you serious?

At the weigh ins Sonnen avoided eye contact.  He was a bit disheveled, and the video game story got around.  Once again, aloof, almost spaced out.  The Red Devil team supporting Gambaryan laughed about it.  The confidence was flying for the Russians.

The next day, the opening ceremonies were the same.  Sonnen was avoiding eye contact, head down, wearing jeans and a white t shirt.  The Russian team was splendid, dressed all in black and red, matching outfits of the Red Devil Team.  During the Russian National Anthem, Sonnen looked at the crowd, standing completely out of position looking like a disheveled kid while Gambaryan tried to stare him down.

The American Anthem starts, and Gamaryan is still staring the mean pre fight stare.  Sonnen snaps to attention, he salutes Gambaryan and winks at him.

And in the fight, he beat the hell out of the Russian, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that he had known exactly what he was doing all along.

 

About Miguel

MMA matchmaker since 1997. No one besides Joe Silva has made more fights than me.
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