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Chael Sonnen talks 'turning chaos into cash,' refuses to cling to UFC legacy like a high school kid

Chael Sonnen was a guest on The MMA Hour on Monday (July 6, 2015) and he spoke about his MMA legacy and what he was most proud of from his fighting career.

It has been more than one year since Chael Sonnen retired from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after being handed a two-year suspension by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for failing a random drug test.

But, the former Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title contender has never gone too far from the sport.

Sonnen, 38, currently has a successful podcast on the Podcast One network called "You're Welcome," where he has had several high-profile guests from the mixed martial arts (MMA) and professional wrestling worlds. He has also scored analyst gigs with both ESPN and Global Force Wrestling. Last, and certainly not least, the man known as "American Gangster" has launched a tee-shirt line, appropriately titled "Bad Guy."

Despite losing his gig at FOX Sports amidst last year's suspension, Sonnen has remained just as relevant in the MMA stratosphere and his words still carry weight and make plenty of headlines. On today's (July 6, 2015) "The MMA Hour," Sonnen told Ariel Helwani the skill set he possesses that has helped maintain his success.

"If you can't turn chaos into cash, you don't know much about marketing," Sonnen said. "And I will tell you that I will create cash out of chaos every single time. And that statement is going to piss a lot of people off, which is only going to make me happy."

Out of all his memories, Sonnen said his fondest was being a coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).

"I had a lot of great memories," he said. "I had a lot of great experiences. I don't think I've ever had a greater experience in the sport than coaching TUF. I got to do it twice, but I got to really build relationships there that will really last forever. I stay in contact with every one of those guys. Contact with the coaches. Contact with the opposing athletes and coaches. Those were definitely the highest points that I had was coaching The Ultimate Fighter and being given that opportunity."

As the interview came to a close, Sonnen was asked to define his MMA legacy, to which he gave a detailed response on his feelings of the topic itself.

"As far as legacy goes, there was a time in my career I would get asked that Ariel, and I would get red hot. There was a time in my career everything pissed me off. Any question you asked me was going to set me off one way or the other, but that one specifically because I never got it. I had to deal with these other guys sitting around talking about their legacy like anyone should give a damn about them. I graduated high school. I loved high school. I donate to my old high school. I'd coach at my old high school. I'd do anything for my old high school, but the last thing I want to do is wear a God damn lettermen's jacket around when I'm out of high school, and there are guys that do it. Look, when you move on from something, move on.

"Sports are for kids. If you are able to stick around a sport and do it as an adult, if you are given an opportunity, you've made that kind of commitment to it, that's all house money. But, these guys that cling to it and want to be remembered for something they did in a kid's world, in a kid's sport, that is a weird thing to me and I never wanted to get trapped in it. I thought, 'I'm going to be a fighter for a very limited time and I'm going to have to move on and do real things in life.' Be a father. Be a husband. Be a member of my community. Do these things that really matter, not some sport I go do in a steel cage three times a year. And I was very defiant that I do not want to hear about someone else's alleged legacy, because I compare it to the guy out of high school riding around in his Trans Am with his gold lettermen jacket. I didn't want to be one of those guys."

Sonnen then talked about what he was most proud of, while simultaneously taking a subtle shot at Jose Aldo's rib-injury situation and Aldo's teammate who was responsible for breaking it, Alcides Nunes.

"I was very proud of the fact that I would fight anybody at any time, period, and I would never come in with an excuse," said Sonnen. "And if I had a broken rib you damn sure would never know about it. If one of my teammates came out and did an interview about how he broke my rib, he's no longer my teammate. I would never discredit the sport or my opponent by reading my injury list before or after my fight. I always thought it was a very underhanded thing to do. It's a very cowardly thing to do, to come out and say 'I'm hurt,' particularly after you win a fight. I've seen guys win fights and then say 'I did it with a broken arm.' Now you are turning on your opponent. Your message there is very clear. You are saying 'I beat you and had I been healthy, I would've beaten you easier.'"

"As far as legacy goes, the one thing that I was proud of was that I would always compete. I was looking to compete. I was never a bully. I would take on anybody at any time. If it was the No.1 guy in the world or the No.100 guy in the world it didn't make any bit of difference. If someone wanted to fight I would show up and fight."

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