Chael’s Fake Modesty and Real Racism

Chael Sonnen recently told Ariel Helwani that he had dialed down his rhetoric after receiving a clandestine call from Renzo Gracie. Sonnen refused to divulge what was said, only saying that when you get a call from a Gracie or a guy like Randy Couture, you “just shut up and listen.”

The video is below.


I believe this much: he did receive a phone call from Renzo Gracie. I believe it because in one form or another, a ton of fighters – not just Brazilian – have reached out to him over the course of the past year to state unequivocally that he had gone way too far in his comments about Brazilians.

There are a myriad ways to hype a fight, and Sonnen has engaged in just about every form of it. There’s plenty to be said for hyperbole. But what Sonnen says about Brazilians at times borders on racism, and at other times runs right over that line.

Sadly, not enough people seem to be calling him out on it. Fighters prefer to say it in person, giving Sonnen the benefit of the doubt that he’s just getting carried away in the moment. Some MMA journalists have mentioned it, but not enough, because many of them either don’t have a backbone or do it to get a press pass and a good seat.

But then, just when he appears to be humbly regretting his racism, he’s right back at it on the largest sports network in the country, telling Dan LaBatard:

“The only resentment or confusion that I have is the implication is that they’ve got dentists on every other block in Brazil, you know. There’s something wrong with your tooth in Brazil, some doctor waves a fishbone in front of your face and hopes your mouth feels better.”

Despicable. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t want make me want to see him get beat up, it makes me want to see him just disappear completely.

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