ROUNDTABLE: Did the positive outweigh the negative with Chael Sonnen?

Chael Sonnen (artist Grant Gould © MMATorch)

Frank Hyden MMATorch Columnist

 I think he helped usher in the era of talking yourself up and into title shots, but that’s only a negative if the organization allows it to be. As for Sonnen himself, it’s true his trash talk went too far sometimes but that was the point. He wanted to be the villain, he wanted to be hated.
Any negatives I associate with Sonnen are more about the organizations he was in than himself. And the only positive I associate with him is that he showed that if you worked hard and became a better talker, that you could become a bigger deal. Sonnen was a bigger deal than his talent would dictate. That speaks to what working on your mic skills can accomplish.

Michael Hiscoe MMATorch Columnist

As a fan, the positives of Chael Sonnen’s career definitely outweighed the negatives. To some, his trash talk was over the top and I’d argue that he became a bit of a parody of himself by the end. What Sonnen was able to do is demonstrate how a pretty good fighter can be put in a better position than an excellent fighter by being able to talk. This has lead to some poor imitations, but it also gave us Conor McGregor, so all in all, Chael Sonnen was very good for the sport.

Sean Covington MMATorch Contributor

Absolutely. Chael Sonnen talked a great game and backing it up was never really important. Before Conor McGregor, someone had to be a loud mouth and that man was Chael Sonnen. Chael had some good fights and a bit of success but his strength was in selling MMA to the audience, any audience. I won’t get into the fact that I 100% believe that first fight with Anderson Silva was fixed, I’ll just say that his career wasn’t exactly what it should have been but he certainly made the most of it.

Aaron Crider MMATorch Contributor

I think if people are willing to overlook Jon Jones’ actions, then they have to be willing to overlook Chael Sonnen’s. I’ve always enjoyed watching him fight — I’ve enjoyed his trash-talking even more. His positives don’t completely outshine his negatives, however, those negatives don’t completely obscure his positives.

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