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Chael Sonnen: 'You've got to compete against everybody (even friends like Rashad Evans)' except coaches

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Chael Sonnen feels that it is his obligation to fight a friend like Rashad Evans, who he will battle at UFC 167 this weekend. In fact, it's their duty as professional fighters to suck it up and set a good example for others unwilling to do the same. However, if asked to fight one of his coaches who helped him get to where he is today, Sonnen would draw a fine line in the sand.

Jared Wickerham

Chael Sonnen doesn't have a problem fighting friends.

In fact, that's exactly what he'll do this weekend (Sat., Nov. 16, 2013) when he steps into the Octagon to face Rashad Evans -- a man he sparked a friendship with thanks to their duties as analysts on with Fox Sports 1 -- in the co-main event of UFC 167.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) company man, however, will never do fight one of his coaches, including Dan Henderson, Randy Couture and Matt Lindland, among others.

That's because, according to Sonnen, putting friendship aside to do battle is one thing, but if you have to punch the man who has been training you for a professional lifetime, it's taking mixed martial arts (MMA) matters too far.

He shared his thoughts on the matter (via Bleacher Report):

"You have to understand this, Matt Lindland, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson ... these are the guys who trained me. These are the guys who gave up their time, away from their families, away from their own hobbies, to prepare me. To ask a teammate to fight a teammate is one thing. To ask an athlete to fight his coach has never been done. I don't believe it ever will be done and it's a totally different thing. Two workout partners is different than competing with your coach. It's significantly different. I highly doubt, without a title on the line, that the UFC would ever ask an athlete to do that."

Sonnen's reasoning is exactly the reason UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez is so adamant that he will never accept a fight against Daniel Cormier. Aside from being American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) stablemates, "DC" serves as Velasquez's lead wrestling coach.

Indeed, as interesting as a fantasy match up between Sonnen against "The Natural," "The Law" or "Hendo" may be, fans will never see them happen because "American Gangster" is loyal -- perhaps to a fault -- to his coaches.

And that's okay. Especially because two of those three are retired and the other, Henderson, may be nearing the end of his MMA career.

But, that's besides the point.