But does he believe in God?
Now that Chael Sonnen’s opponent for “UFX on Fox 2” has been changed from Mark Munoz to Michael Bisping due to injury, Sonnen is back to his usual shenanigans again. Both Sonnen and Bisping are regarded as two of the UFC’s premiere trash-talkers, and with no love lost between these two it’s been fun to see and hear them talk about each other. But recently, Sonnen took time out of his busy schedule of picking apart Michael Bisping to take some shots at religion. Or at least, that’s what some of the cynics are saying. Here’s what I think.
First off, here’s the quotes I’m talking about. Courtesy of MMA Fighting, Sonnen recently said all of the following:
“You know, these guys want to talk about God. ‘Oh, I want to thank God. I want to thank God.’ Listen, I’m a God-fearing man, go to church every Sunday and have since I was a boy. But if I ever found out that God cared one way or another about a borderline illegal fist-fight on Saturday night, I would be so greatly disappointed that it would make rethink my entire belief system.”
Let me begin by saying this: that’s an awesome quote, and it just proves once again that Chael Sonnen is the best talker in the business.
Now, I don’t think I’ve tackled the whole “religion in sports” issue yet, so here are my own personal thoughts on this frequently-discussed topic.
I honestly agree with Sonnen: if he exists, I don’t think God cares much about which fighter wins a cage fight.
That’s not me being anti-religion or anything, that’s just me being practical. If a being does exist in this universe with a cosmic level of power, he probably only cares about problems and threats that are on a cosmic level. If a being does exist that created the world, that being probably only cares about problems that affect the entire world.
Now, I am not opposed to people taking some inner strength from their religion. I’m not opposed to the idea of religion as a whole, in fact. I think the anti-religious or simply people who like to poke fun at religion occasionally see athletes thank God and assume that those athletes must believe that God himself had a hand in their victory, which is either incredibly stupid or incredibly narcissistic depending on your viewpoint.
I can’t get inside a fighter’s head so I don’t really know what a fighter means when he says he’s thanking God after he wins a fight. But here’s what I do know: I don’t think it’s so bad to thank God for helping you win a fight, so long as you don’t confuse “helping” with God taking an active role in determining your career.
If a fighter considers their belief in God or their devotion to their religion as a motivating factor, is it so wrong to thank that motivating factor? Isn’t that just like thanking a training partner or a coach? And for those who are into religion that think that I’m belittling God by comparing him to a training partner or a coach, all I can say is: you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.
If you try to rationalize thanking God for helping you win at life, a little leeway must be given. Some concessions should rightfully be made. If you don’t try to rationalize the situation, if you really do think that God takes an active hand in shaping your career, you honestly deserve to be mocked for thanking God every time you win a fight.
In the end, I’m sure most MMA fans see this as just another off-color remark from MMA’s premiere trash talker. I’m sure those same fans probably think I’m reading too much into this. But it’s a fun topic to discuss, it got me to think outside the box a little, and for the life of me I couldn’t think of anything else to write about today.
And that’s that, I guess.
About the author
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan, and lifelong video game nerd. For more news, views, previews, and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.