The second the cameras stopped rolling, UFC fighter Chael Sonnen turned to Jon “Bones” Jones and slapped him on the knee.
“I can’t believe you did that! How could you?!” Sonnen joked, acting not unlike a married couple. Or, at the very least, friends.
Conducting an interview in the Sports Illustrated studio, Jones had just given away one of the results of a yet-to-be-aired episode of FX’s The Ultimate Fighter, and there would have to be a re-take.
Having spent so much time together in recent weeks taping The Ultimate Fighter, the days of Sonnen trash-talking Jones seem too long gone. Despite the fact that they are preparing to fight each other on April 27, they really do seem like friends.
So are they actually?
“Yeah we are [friends],” Sonnen said. “The single most disappointing part about going through this coaching process was finding out what a nice and genuine and passionate person that he is. [Spending so much time with someone] is really a recipe for disaster. Most of the time tensions fly… but for whatever reason Jon’s and my personality really hit it off.”
Jones does not entirely agree with such a flowery characterization, though.
“Oh no, me and Chael are not friends,” he quickly interjects. “We’re far from friends. We’re definitely more friendly than I would have expected, but that’s just my nature – I’m a friendly person.”
Whatever the status of their relationship, the fact remains that they are three months away from meeting in the octagon.
Jones has a belt to hold on to -- a belt that Sonnen covets dearly. Expect all niceties to be spared.