Chael Sonnen Explains How Paul Heyman Saved UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter”
Sonnen noted during the interview that while filming TUF Brazil, he was starting to become a babyface-type of character due to the actions of rival coach Wanderlei Silva, something he had not anticipated, nor desired. In trying to find a way to regain his heel momentum, Sonnen reached out to the one person he felt could give him advice on how to switch things up a bit — Paul Heyman.
“I’ve never met him, but I know what he’s done,” said Sonnen of Heyman. “He’s a little bit older than me, so I felt I could trust him. I’m breaking a confidentiality agreement but there were circumstances where I was jammed up and I had to make an executive decision.”
Sonnen described how he was losing his heel edge to Silva during the show. “To say he was ruining the show may be extreme, but the interaction between he and I is an element of the show that’s important. There has to be the interaction of the coaches. It’s an important factor. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to handle this. This is the same time I’m losing my grip on my character as a heel. I can feel it slipping away. He’s being aggressive. He’s skipping practices. He’s partying.” Sonnen continued, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to handle this.”
So, Sonnen called the “mad scientist” for some advice. “Paul was a guy that even without knowing him, I knew I could trust him,” said Sonnen. “We have mutual friends, Brock Lesnar and (former pro wrestling headliner) CM Punk. I knew he was an expert in psychology and I was stuck, working through this spot, having to deal with this, [Silva] not talking to me and the reversal of roles that I didn’t see coming.”
Sonnen continued, “He told me, `Listen, you have to shoot (be completely real, not holding back verbally) on him. If he’s not playing along, you have to drop everything and shoot on him.’ He laid it out a lot more aggressive than that. `You have to drop everything and come clean.’ He went into it a lot more detail than that.”
Sonnen concluded, “In many ways, Paul Heyman saved Ultimate Fighter (Brazil) 3. He kept his word. He kept his secrecy up. So not only should we thank Paul for the huge ratings, but we can also blame him for all the bad things.”
You can check out the complete interview at F4WOnline.com.