When news broke that Chael Sonnen had been suspended by the UFC not long after his guilty plea to federal charges of money laundering, Matt Lindland, Sonnen's coach of 15 years, rang his cell phone.
"I think Chael has made a couple of mistakes," Lindland said. He didn't think things through. I don't think there was any malice in what he did at all. If you knew him really well, you'd understand that he's not about, 'How can I make a quick buck?'
"The way I look at this stuff, it looks like somebody asked him to do a solid. In his mind, he didn't think of the consequences and the ramifications behind this. It was like, 'Oh yeah, sure.' Part of the daily, 'How can I help this guy out?'"
"I don't agree with everything they (UFC) do, and I don't even know if I agree with this, but I think it's what's best for everybody in the long run. There needs to be some consequences for actions. It just sucks that these consequences are that he can't make a living in two of his chosen professions.
"I've said this before as his coach: He'll put the work in, and he'll stay dedicated, and he'll stay focused. He's an incredible athlete. He's got all the tools. But in fighting, you have to be a tough m***********. And he's just not very tough."
"I think this is partially his mistakes and partially maybe by design that Chael was lacking one element to make him a champion, and I think that's the toughness. I really think he's going to come out of this on the other side and be really, really tough."
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