UFC fighter Chael Sonnen sheds heel image to donate tickets, help Olympic wrestler

Maggie Hendricks

UFC fighter Chael Sonnen has a carefully cultivated reputation as a first-class heel. During build-up to his fight Saturday with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Sonnen has creatively called out Silva, Silva's, Silva's country, and pretty much everything on the planet having to do with Silva.

But Sonnen just proved that he is actually a nice guy who supports the Olympic movement. His fight with Silva is a hot ticket in Las Vegas, with two together starting at $288 and going up to $2,177 each on StubHub. Sonnen, who was an alternate to the 2000 Greco-Roman wrestling team, used two of his tickets to help Olympians to raise money to train.

Sonnen tweeted on Sunday night he would give two tickets to the first person to make a $1,000 donation to Olympic wrestlers Jake Herbert, Coleman Scott, or Jared Frayer. An hour later, Herbert had received a donation of $1,000, and Sonnen tweeted the donor a confirmation about the tickets.

Getting to the Olympics takes not only hard work, dedication and talent. It also takes some cash. Though sport's national governing bodies and sponsors help, it doesn't always cover all the costs. And unlike every other country's Olympic committee, the U.S. Olympic movement does not get government support.

As someone who wrestled at the elite levels, Sonnen understands this, and used his career as a fighter to help the team. Hate to break it to you, Chael, but helping out an Olympian is definitely the move of a nice guy.