“I got hit with a PED charge and a criminal charge in the same month. The whole ‘silly me’ defense is a pretty good one. When you go, ‘Listen, I didn’t know. I didn’t know the rules.’ That works. That’s a good, solid defense. One time. I needed it twice in the same month. So I just knew I was beat. As far as a PR standpoint goes, this is a disaster. Anybody in politics will tell you that when there’s a problem you steer into it, so I came out of that mess and I just came out and said, ‘Yea, I’m a gangster. This is the life. This is what gangsters do.’
“Before I knew it they were making t-shirts that said ‘American Gangster’ on it. It became the No. 2 selling t-shirt of all time for Tapout. People just started going into it. I just kept going with it, too. ‘This is nothing. These are just the things I was caught for. You should hear what I got away with.’ I started going really hard into it. Yea, it was a lot of fun and it did turn it around.”
“Whenever you can evoke a strong emotion and want somebody to tune in, whether it’s to see you win or get beat up, and I’ve been on both sides of that, it’s a win. What you don’t want is for somebody to not care. Whenever they have no feeling at all, that’s bad. Even if they kind of like you or they kind of don’t, that’s also bad. It’s got to be a strong emotion one way or the other.
“For me, I prefer to be the heel. I just have always preferred to incite them and make them angry. I had death threats in Brazil, but if you’re a heel, this is a major win. What’s stronger than that? It’s always fun for me. One thing I picked up on was that nobody else wanted that. If you’re up there competing for popularity, well, everybody wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be patted on the back. Now you’re competing with everybody. If you go to the other end of the pool, you can have the water all to yourself. I became the biggest heel in MMA and possibly in sports kind of by just swimming down there and saying, ‘Well, I want to be down here.’ If I could do it over again, I’d definitely chose the same route. I might have laid it on a bit thicker at times but I would never go back.”
“I don’t think Wanderlei and I will ever cross paths. We’re both in timeout right now. The kids that I like most in school were the ones I met right outside the principal’s office, so as far as Wanderlei goes he’s actually earned points with me. When we were both eligible, I couldn’t get him in the ring so I can’t imagine that anything like that ever happens. I don’t think so.”
“I took on a nine-time world champion, and I had never done this before. It was my first time, he’s won the Worlds nine times. We both knew how this movie was going to end before the opening credits ever rolled, but I don’t think that’s a reason to not do something. It’s more of a reason to go out, compete and have some fun. It was a big chance for me to learn some new stuff. To just focus on Jiu Jitsu or grappling and pick up some new techniques. I’d love to do it again.”
In a great interview with Short Time Wrestling Podcast, former UFC title challenger, Chael P. Sonnen discussed the evolution of his “Heel Character”.