When Chael Sonnen announced his retirement from MMA following his loss to Lyoto Machida, it had positive reactions from the MMA world. Fighters acknowledged what a great career he had and his impact on the sport.
But, for Ricky Simon, 26, who is set to fight Urijah Faber this Saturday, seeing Sonnen retire was emotional. The two have trained together since Simon joined Gracie Barra, now American Top Team. There, in the gym, Sonnen took the 26-year-old under his wing and has been a mentor for him throughout his young and promising career.
“Very motivating. He is such a smart guy. If you just see him on TV, you might have the wrong perception of the man. I have trained with him for a few years and he took me under his wing,” Simon said to MMANews. “Chael has been a great mentor and it is a little emotional to see him retire. He is a great guy and does so much for me. As far as helping me behind the scenes and always giving me advice. It was awesome to be a part of his team and see a real legend of the sport train every day and see how he trains. He is an awesome guy and has a beautiful family. I’m happy for him and he had a great career.”
Ricky Simon knows Chael Sonnen will still be in the gym from time to time, and can always call him to ask for advice. Regardless of the rep he gets, Simon is happy to have “The American Gangster” in his corner day in and day out. He believes Sonnen has made him a much better fighter, and he is happy to be able to see how a legend prepares for a fight, which he says he will start doing.