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For UFC 136, 'Chael Sonnen Show' takes a break

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Budgellism

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For most fighters, the path from the cage to the dressing room to the press conference to the hotel to the airport, and finally, the deafening quiet of home is like a space shuttle in reentry – one-thousand miles per hour to 25 in a school zone.

Then it's back to the day job of the gym, the occasional interview, the signings, the seminar. The next fight comes around, and blastoff.

After 14 months away from fighting, it's been a bumpy ride back for Chael Sonnen. The world he's created and the world in which he finds himself day to day, well, they disagree.

In MMA, he's a onetime middleweight title challenger who jolted us to attention and then seemed to implode on the weight of his shortcomings. He's a blowhard, a pathological liar, a funny man, a talented guy who almost took the mighty Anderson Silva's title. Almost.

In West Linn, Ore., where Sonnen lives and leaves as little as he can, he says he lives a regimented and insular existence. It's easy to forget all the noise. With its Northwest green and suburban sprawl, West Linn is not a place that screams fighting, no matter what his alter-ego says.

"Every day I get up, I do the same thing," Sonnen tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I get up at the same time. I walk my dog, I feed him, I go to practice, I coach the kids, and I go to bed. I never felt popular. I never felt unpopular. I never felt rich. I never felt poor. I don't drive a different car; I don't use a different phone.

"I fought Anderson. I didn't buy myself so much as a new T-shirt. My life has never changed. I just hear it from other people. I hear other people say, 'It must have been hard for you.' Or, 'this must have been exciting' or 'you must be happy.' And sometimes they're right. You do have the right emotion. Sometimes, I'm thinking, 'I don't know what for.'"

Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) knows what his audience wants, though, and it's the devil on his shoulder. They want a show, and not just his fight Saturday with Brian Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at UFC 136, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. Whether it be the handful of reporters who follow the UFC's traveling circus or the throngs of fans who live and breathe the sport, they're waiting for him to put his opponent on blast. They're waiting for the guy you love to hate, and hate to love.

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Post #1   10/8/11 4:10:37PM