I suspect a lot of the Chael love is tongue in cheek. A lot of people also have a strong dislike for the man.
However, it cannot be denied that Chael is the most interesting and polarizing fighter (other than possibly Brock Lesnar) in the UFC today. Love him or hate him, he is damned entertaining.
The other thing about Chael that endeared him to many is that he talked such relentless, seemingly ridiculous trash talk to the undisputed P4P King for so long, that the only way he would be able to save face would be to actually DO the things he said he would. Miraculously, and against the prior judgement of almost everyone, he did almost EXACTLY what he said he was going to do - he dominated and beat up the champion, and he came within a whisker of dethroning the unbeatable Anderson Silva.
Hate him or not, you have to respect him as a fighter. And he is funny. Though i will admit, people around here often overlook some of the shadier aspects of Chael Sonnens character, such as the illegal business dealings, and i cant speak for everyone, but for me i tend to forget about that because it has nothing to do with MMA.
The roid usage is a different story, but as i believe 95% of UFC fighters are using something that is on the banned substance list, i only deem him foolish for getting caught.