Is Chael Sonnen habitually stuck at second?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

In his latest newsletter, Dave Melzer pointed out a curious piece of Chael Sonnen’s history, in discussing his loss to Jon Jones Saturday night.

“Sonnen continued a lifetime of being a perennial second place finisher,” said Meltzer. “He placed second in the state in high school. He placed second in the Pac-10 three times in college. He placed second in the world university games.”

Sonnen’s silver run did not end with wrestling, however, it continued in MMA.

“He had two title shots, one in WEC and the other in UFC, where he completely dominated the champion (both Paulo Filho when Filho was generally considered the No. 2 fighter in the world, and his more famous first loss to Anderson Silva) the entire fight, only to get submitted,” continued Meltzer. “Few remember, but the one time Sonnen won the big one, beating the world champion (a completely spaced out Paulo Filho, the WEC middleweight champion), he didn’t get the title because Filho had missed weight and thus it became a non-title match.”

Chael Sonnen obliquely discussed the pattern, when he appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience last year.

“For me, I had a fight with Yushin Okami who was ranked number two in the world and I was one of those guys that was kind of looked at in the top 10. That was right before I fought Nate Marquardt and it gave me a lot of confidence, but here is what happened Joe. I have never lost a round of fighting, and when I say that, sometimes a guy will laugh because I have lost fights. But, I’ve never lost a round. I’ve never had a fight where a judge ever scored a round against me until my last match with Bisping.

“At the point of your story, though, I sit down one day, and I’m on, and I’m looking at my record. I’ve won every round I have ever fought. I’ve never been in a tough fight. I’ve never had stitches, I’ve never broken anything, I have dominated everybody and I’ve lost eight fights, and I’ve lost all of them by submission and I’ve lost all of them in the second round. And I’m staring at that on the computer and I’m staring at these numbers like a CEO would his spreadsheet. And I’m saying, ‘There is something going on here and it’s not physical. There is something going on that I can dominate eight minutes of a fight, seven minutes of a fight, nine minutes of a fight and find a way out time after time after time in the same round with the same move.’

“So, I went and got help. I went and got professional help and I sought out a doctor, Ed Versteeg. I hate talking about this because this was a real secret. This was a real turning point for me was when I went in, worked on sports psychology and got hypnotized.

“I was never the same. I was never the same in practice, my attitude was different. Controlling my diet, being discipline, falling asleep, the way I approached battle, the way I approached the second round. Everything changed, and it changed to the point where, I hate to say what I just said and now it’s too late because I felt like it was my secret. I discovered something and I don’t want other people to know. I will write about it someday in a book, I will talk about it you know, when I’m retired , but I’m not going to tell anybody because it’s competitive edge.

“So when I started seeing a sports psychologist and I finally came clean, it’s like being an alcoholic, before you can get help, you have to admit you have a problem. When I finally admitted I got a problem, when I finally said, it, when I finally could acknowledge it and look somebody in the eye and tell them this is what’s going on, I’m finding a way to lose as opposed to win. I work harder than these guys. I been at this longer, I know how to stop submissions, I’m finding my way into them, I’m finding a way out and that’s what’s happening. I had to acknowledge that and once I did it, I never lost again. I lost to Paulo which was the controversial one and then I lost to Anderson after dominating him, I’ve never been beat since I saw this doctor.”

Listen to entire interview…