The Voice of Reason by Chael Sonnen – A Personal Review
So I have just finished reading ‘The Voice of Reason’ by Chael Sonnen. As is obvious to anyone who follows us at BritFights, writing is a passion of mine which is up there on the same level as reading and the crazy sport of MMA.
I am a writer, having interviewed quite a few of the UK fighters and even putting myself in rather embarrassing albeit enjoyable situations, all in what I hope is written entertainment. So suddenly, just yesterday, it clicked that my favourite (ever) fighter Mr Chael P Sonnen has written a book.
I am not a patient person when it comes to getting something I want, so immediately I downloaded The Voice of Reason on iBooks silently thanking an imaginary someone or something for the chance to start reading immediately. Now don’t get me wrong, I still want a ‘real’ copy but I got what I wanted there and then and boy did that make my evening.
I will continue by saying that I started off in MMA as a fan and I will always be a fan despite now doing what I do. Some say, it isn’t professional to be a fan as well as a writer but I personally think it is a good thing because I still have the passion for a sport I discovered far too late in life and I am constantly learning as I go.
So yes, I am a huge Chael P Sonnen fan and for all of the right reasons, but since reading The Voice of Reason, I am now hook line and sinker, totally blown away. Not only is this guy a fantastic fighter, he is also one of the funniest, most intelligent people I have come across. I will add now, this isn’t your usual bog standard book review and yes I give my opinion on things. You have been warned.
From the foreword written by Jesus Christ himself, you begin to get an understanding of Mr Sonnen from the very first paragraph. It reels you in and immediately I realise that being in the public eye in whatever field you are in, is not easy. People always want something from you for their personal gain which in itself is not a bad thing but of course, people are never happy with what they get and always want something more. This is my interpretation and I hope to God I am not wrong because I don’t want to be on the receiving end of Chael’s tongue!
Jesus stands aside and it is now down to Chael or Uncle Cha Cha to take over. He tells us amongst other things that we need a pen, dictionary and map. Well maybe I am more intelligent than I think because I didn’t need the dictionary to decipher any words and when I am interested my mind is focussed 100% so the only pen I used was my mental one!
Where do I start and indeed end in this, my first book review? The Voice of Reason takes us on a journey inside the mind of Chael P Sonnen where he discusses MMA and fighting and the whole system of travelling and preparing for UFC fights complete with utterly brilliant character descriptions of his entourage which had me laughing rather loudly on numerous occasions. And then we go on to the fantastic descriptions of weigh-in day and the outfits various fighters turn up in. I had just got comfy on the sofa but had to sit up due to a coughing fit through laughter. I can’t say too much because you have to read the book yourself.
The persona Chael presents suggests an abundance of arrogance, we hear the trash talking and see the twitter feeds but he really isn’t as arrogant as you may think. He still takes the time to stop and talk to fans, signing photos and posing for pictures. I always thought I’d be too scared to stop and speak to him in any capacity but now I’d be first in line.
Another great thing about Mr S is the way he is quick to say that he isn’t one of those who came from the wrong side of the tracks, someone who was abused or fell in with the wrong crowd. He literally was a ‘normal’ lad, brought up by loving parents who did what a lot of kids do in the great USA – he wrestled. And he loved it. No sob story, no drama, just the determination and drive to dedicate to something he loved.
When it comes to American Politics, I have no idea – I won’t pretend I do but Chael talks of his one-time aspirations to go into politics and how he will now never be able to. Something that maddens me! Having read the story it is blaringly obvious that the stench was a complete and utter set up. Rose tinted glasses you say? Read it yourself. As I said, politics is not my strong point but Uncle Chael can convey his message in plain English so that even I can understand the point.
As with politics, Science isn’t always my strongest subject but it is another of Chael’s. I am however with him on the whole science of having a bullshit detector. I’ll let you read yourself to find out the full implications but let’s just say the man speaks sense.
We go on to learn about social media and the media in general and as was pointed out by Jesus himself (remember the foreword) Chael does contradict himself insofar as hating social media yet having twitter!!! But hey I forgive him!
It is very difficult to write a detailed review because I cannot mention everything in the book but have to pick out bits and bobs to comment on! Well something we have a little in common is in the field of Sociology, granted I didn’t go to Uni as Chael did but it is a subject I excelled in at school. I like the way Chael’s mind processes and breaks down information. I am also loving the whole section on walk out music – I have a list of songs to listen to now and we will see if I agree with the whole section and don’t get me started on the film list!
Chael’s description of his fight against Anderson is fresh in my mind as I only watched it last night on YouTube. Although I knew the result before watching it, I was still bouncing around on the couch with oooo’s and aaahhhh’s! As Chael says, a split second cost him the fight which he undoubtedly won totally up to that point. I now have the chance to excite myself beyond belief when I watch TUF in the early hours of the morning every week. Obviously, I am excited about this for lots of reasons but also because the closest thing to Chael I have come across as a writer is our British undefeated Luke Barnatt who is going to be giving it his all. Read my interview with Luke to see why I make the connection between him and Chael.
Sadly, Chael was also the victim of The Californian State Athletic Commission in a whole Steroid saga. Again you may say I see this guy through rose tinted glasses but when it comes to Chael talking about his testosterone problem and subsequent medication, I found myself agreeing as a member of my family has the same problem. It is so true that the media can ruin you as quick as they can make you. I have never and I will never print anything about anyone that shoots them down in an angry tirade of words regardless of whether they are true. But if I ever do, that person will never be named!
There are chapters that I have not mentioned, as I said, where do I draw the line? But one of my favourites has to be the Santa chapter. I absolutely love and can picture the scenes and it is one that made me smile and sad at the same time as I think this year was my last year of getting away with the whole Santa thing. In fact Chael speaks of ancient times and how change is good in some ways and not in others. Well I have to say the introduction of technology is fantastic but the Track Santa app is not!!!! I have a fourteen year old who is too old for any of it but my nine year old is just on the cusp and every year since the kids were old enough to understand; Christmas Eve sees one of us hiding somewhere and ringing a bell. The other adult then says ‘sshhhh’ and rushes out into the garden and says ‘quick I can hear Santa’s sleigh bells’. The many years of the kids convinced they saw the sleigh head over the rooftops was wonderful. This year however, my nine year old wanted to track Santa, leaving me unable to do the whole bell ringing because at that precise moment, my son was looking at the tracker and Santa was in Latvia or somewhere. An example of change being bad Chael!
Another favourite chapter of mine is the one where Chael eloquently describes the whole feeling and emotion of fight night in honest and beautifully descriptive words. When I read I like to feel I am there at the scene and this fulfilled my desires totally.
To be honest this isn’t your normal style of book review as I said at the beginning; it is MY style and love or hate my style, I am sticking to it as it hasn’t done me any harm so far.
In conclusion, I am in ‘love’ with the mind of this person, the total intelligence and logical thinking that is conveyed throughout the whole book in a clear and concise way. The book made me laugh and in one place it also made me sad and it also showed me the real Chael P Sonnen. But above all else, it made me feel the moments and think about a lot of things I may not have bothered about before; that to me is not only a clever writer but also a clever person. I could spend hours talking to Mr Sonnen on numerous subjects so if he ever wants to grant me an interview I will be here waiting?!
All that is left for me to say is The Voice of Reason is a must read for any fans of MMA or any fans of people who say it how it is. Quite simply, go get it and more importantly, open your mind, be educated and enjoy!