“I don’t kid about Coach Pittman,” Sonnen tells me when I ask. Which, of course, implies that he does kid about other subjects. But the money laundering stuff, the testosterone? Even though he’d written about it in the book, he shuts down as soon as I mention it in our interview. If I’ve read the book, he says, that should tell me everything I need to know. I reply that it doesn’t. Not quite. I’ve read what the character Chael Sonnen has to say about things like money laundering. I want to know what the person thinks. When he turns and fixes me with his icy blue eyes — think Siberian Husky, but not quite as friendly — I see I’ve made a critical error.
… he’s pled guilty, taken his punishment, and that should be the end of it. It’s the same with testosterone, which he describes as a “life-enhancer” that he really and truly needs. It’s legal, it’s fair, and he has legitimate medical documentation to prove that he’s not abusing anything, he says, so he doesn’t understand why people won’t get off his back about it. His frustration seems authentic, as does his claim that there’s nothing at all untoward about his use of a controversial hormone-replacement therapy. I want to believe him. He’s smart and articulate and, look at him, hasn’t he been through so much already? But then, fifteen minutes ago he was just as passionate about the fake belt. How am I supposed to believe him now, on a serious topic, when I’ve already seen how seriously he can treat a ridiculous one?
Ben Fowlkes, In search of the real Chael Sonnen on the mean streets of West Linn, Oregon, MMAFighting
Fantastic piece of writing. And probably one of the best analyses of this sort of performance. We’re comfortable with Jerry Lawler doing this sort of thing because we all know how that works now. We’re comfortable with Andy Kaufmann, at least in retrospect, because he was definitely a performance artist, a comedian, a performer. What is it about Chael’s version of it that is so unsettling/provocative?
Every fight I go into, no matter what happens, it could not be worse than Anderson Silva.
[Anderson punched me in the chin] Repeatedly and I was very confused. I tried to punch him and he literally moved his head out of the way and looked at me like I was stupid for doing it. He looked at me like - “Why would you do such a stupid thing?” He looked at me like - “Oh, did you really think you were going to hit me? What a stupid thing to think, you slow slow white boy.” Then he punched me. I felt embarrassed for even trying to punch him. I felt like some kid trying to wrestle his dad.
— Forrest Griffin
Your cat’s sick, you can’t pay your rent, and for 15 or 25 minutes, however long, you’re free of that. It’s real hard for that to enter your mind when somebody’s choking your face off. You’re in that moment of getting your face choked. You ain’t thinking about the bills, your mortgage or your boss. It’s freedom from that. Well, now, the problem is that I’ve got a good life. I don’t want freedom from my good life. I love my life. I’ve got an awesome wife, my cat’s cool, he’s pretty healthy, and life’s pretty good.
Now I don’t need a reprieve from life.
— Forrest Griffin
I’ve never gotten away with a fight in my entire life. I even got jumped by a bunch of guys once and I beat them up, and they sued me for assault. Every fight I got into in school, I always got a suspension or community service, and it’s just never been worth it to me. If I could get in a fight without there being legal repercussions, I would be in a fight every single day. I don’t go out to clubs at all, because I know if someone grabs my a— I’ll punch them in the face.
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