MMAmania book review: The Voice of Reason by Chael Sonnen


Are you ready to be enlightened?

UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen is one of the mouthiest and most polarizing figures in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. Some love him while others despise him. Either way, though, after winning five of his last six fights and having pushed champion Anderson Silva further than any other man in the UFC history, you'd damn well better respect him.

With a rematch against Silva looming, there was no better time for Sonnen to release his first book though Victory Belt, 'The Voice of Reason: A VIP Pass to Enlightenment.'

Sonnen or "ChaCha" as he calls himself throughout the book, possesses a unique sense of humor and a certain brashness that is extremely rare in this day and age of MMA fighters.

There's no one quite like Chael.

For example, the forward to the book is written by none other than Jesus Christ himself (although his prose is remarkably similar to Sonnen's).

Now for the big question, is this 220 page piece of work worthy of your hard-earned cash?

Short answer: It depends..

If you're a fan of "Chael-speak" (and you probably know what I'm talking about), you'll be getting a lot of it. Sonnen's style is very "stream of conscious," flowing from topic to topic, constantly contradicting himself and making bold claim after bold claim.

Sonnen will devote an entire chapter to his undying hatred for social media, and then make sure to plug his twitter @sonnench, he'll decry the use of country music for walk-out songs while sheepishly admitting he uses one himself.

The Republican ex-realtor has opinions and he's certainly not afraid to share them. Whether it's his proclamation of Richard Nixon as the greatest President who ever lived, why global warming is stupid (it's called summer) or even why he doesn't believe in the "Occupy" movement. His platform is staunchly conservative to the point of Stephen Colbert levels of absurdity and it's tough to tell whether he actually believes everything he's even saying.

While there are definitely ridiculous moments, what really stood out to me was was when he seemingly breaks character, giving you a glimpse of the man behind the mask: his fears before a fight, the emptiness once a match is over, even the horrible feeling after losing to Anderson Silva. Best of all were where he talks about the people who influenced him the most in life, his wrestling coach and his father.

Sonnen also scores with chapters translating fighter cliches into what they are actually thinking, what constitutes proper walk-out music (you can tell he really cares about this subject) and how to properly mess with an opponent before a fight.

You'll hear his sides of the California State Athletic Commission debacle, hypogonadism and how his dreams of being a politician were crushed after the felony charge. Granted, this is just one side of the tale, so take it with a grain of salt.

All in all, the book hits more than it misses. At times Sonnen seems to be trying too hard and he does tend to get preachy, but if you're a true fan of Chael P. Sonnen (with the P standing for "Perfection"), then you'll enjoy every last minute of it.

If you're not a Sonnen fan, I can't guarantee you'll enjoy the book, although there are still moments where you'll catch yourself chuckling at a random quip or a snide remark at some other poor fighter's expense. I'll give "The Voice of Reason" a tentative recommendation.

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