Chael Sonnen has spent the last two-plus decades competing in MMA and the fighter has seen just about everything one can see in the sport.
The longtime fighter is intrigued by UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Colby Covington and believes the champion is going to be reinventing the sport of MMA.
“In many ways, he’s going to reinvent the sport,” Sonnen said on The MMA Hour. “Is that for better or worse? Time will tell, and then you can decide. But people are going to start copying him. He’s the first guy ever to come out and say, ‘I’m just here to entertain you.’ So, yes, it’s an act, and yes, it’s a performance, but here it is and you guys seem to enjoy it. He’s the first guy. The only guy who ever did that in wrestling was The Rock. Everybody else stayed in character and held the old kayfabe montage. But he’s the first guy to come out and go, ‘Look, I’m just looking to entertain you. If the UFC isn’t going to bring me cameras, I’ll hire my own production crew, I’ll pay them, but I’m going to get this content recorded and out to the masses.’”
Sonnen even knows the majority of what Covington says is scripted, but still feels that many fighters will copy what Covington has been doing in the long run.
“They’re scripted promos,” Sonnen said. “He’ll admit they’re scripted promos — another thing that only The Rock would do, nobody else would ever admit to. And I think that he’s having fun. Now, I’ve known him since he was 11 years old — it’s going to be very hard for him to do anything that upsets me, because I just understand it a little bit differently. But I do think we’re going to see guys start to copy him. I think he’s an innovator in many ways. And again, is that a good thing or a bad thing? We’ll find out. But he does get credit, from me at least, for coming in and changing it. He is the first guy I’ve ever seen who has hired his own camera companies to come and go, ‘Hey UFC, you’re not going to do this for me? Great, no problem. I got some money, I’ll make a phone call. I’ll set the shot up myself.’ I think it’s interesting and it’s clearly working.”
While not everybody is enjoying what Covington is doing, it has brought the fighter a great measure of success and a welterweight title unification bout with Tyron Woodley in the future.