Chael Sonnen is about to set the world on fire at least one more time. The former UFC fighter has signed a lucrative contract with Bellator where several high-profile fights await him.
Here's the thing about Sonnen: He's might be a little past his prime, but it doesn't matter. Sonnen is still a significant ratings draw, largely because he has the gift of gab and the incredible ability to talk people into the building. Few in MMA have ever been blessed with these attributes.
Sonnen, a former All-American college wrestler, grew up a professional wrestling fan, and has mastered the art of the professional wrestling promo; that's why there are better fighters than Sonnen who will never earn nearly as much money or have as much staying power as "The Bad Guy."
Sonnen knows how to draw money and make fans believe in him or hate him. It seems simple, but it's not. To incite emotion in fans, a great talker has to offer a mix of comedy and truth, not just throw out a plain insult. Insults are easy, but witty barbs are the difference between mean and clever, rude and wise and flat and pop.
To set the tone, watch this:
Now, let's revisit some of Sonnen's best comedy burns.
Chael Sonnen on Anderson Silva:
- "He's got a black belt under the Nogueiras. I think a black belt under the Nogueiras is saying, like, I got a free toy in my Happy Meal."
- "This guy's not from a bowing culture. You bow in Brazil they will hit you over the head and take your wallet out of your pocket."
- "We don't have to fight. I issued him, in writing, my list of demands. He leave the UFC for no less than 12 months. He issue an apology to the fans. Simple things. And he erect a statue of my likeness in his living room that he bow to each evening."
Chael Sonnen on Wanderlei Silva
- “Wanderlei, you are an immigrant from Brazil. I am a gangster from America . . . I will do a home invasion on you. I will cut the power to your house, and the next thing you’ll hear is me climbing up your stairs in a pair of night vision goggles I bought in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. I’ll pick the lock to the master room door; take a picture of you in bed with the Nogueira brothers working on your ‘jiu-jitsu.' I’ll take said photograph, post it at www.dorksfrombrazil.com, password not required, username not required. That, Wanderlei, is how you threaten someone, dummy!”
- "Wanderlei Silva, six feet tall, 205 pounds; boy, until I met you, I didn’t know they stacked crap that high"
- “I gave Wanderlei a timeline and he didn’t meet it. In his defense, I can’t expect him to understand time. He’s going to have to wait outside a third grade classroom, wait until it clears out, sit with the teacher, have her get out a book and show him the clock with the left hand…I can’t expect Wanderlei to know the word ultimatum when he doesn’t even know the word sandwich.”
Chael Sonnen on Jon Jones
Sonnen placed an ad at his pizza shop in Oregon.
- “If Jon Jones, a potted cactus, and a slice of pizza from my oven were all on Jeopardy, Jon Jones would not make the final round."
Sonnen in rare form here:
Hear some of Sonnen's best insults here: