You’ve got to hand it to Chael Sonnen, he somehow managed to get a fight with the best pound for pound fighter in the world despite not only being out of his league but out of his universe.
The fight was so lopsided, I had a friend (not knowledgable of MMA) ask me about the fight and I told him, “Jon Jones will destroy Chael Sonnen.”
“Destroy him,” he asked.
“Yes, he will absolutely destroy him,” I responded with no uncertainty.
And of course Chael got destroyed with Jonny “Bones” Jones dismantling Sonnen at his own game, his own supposed strength, wrestling, just to prove a point.
So what made the savvy UFC President Dana White put such an abomination together? Chael Sonnen is an interesting man who sells…or, well, used to sell.
Chael Sonnen was a very solid but unspectacular MMA veteran who one day realized his best shot to make millions of dollars was to start being outrageous. He managed to land a fight against Anderson “The Spider” Silva, the #1 in the 185 pound class and MMA legend. He then surprised everybody and dominated the fight for nearly five rounds, ultimately falling victim to a submission hold in the waning minutes of the fight.
The loss notwithstanding, the MMA world then saw Sonnen as a legitimate threat to Silva and started buying into his self promotion and rants. Maybe Sonnen really was championship caliber?
Unfortunately, he wasn’t. After much ranting and raving about how lucky Silva was, Sonnen got his rematch with The Spider and after a strong first round, got knocked out after attempting a crazy spinning back fist.
So that was two, count them two, matches against the UFC Middleweight Champion of the world. Next, Sonnen kept making himself available for a light heavyweight championship bout and with Jon Jones having cleared out the division, a loud mouth Chael Sonnen somehow pulled off the impossible and got a Main Event card at 205 pounds.
Throughout it all, Sonnen keeps maintaining if he isn’t the best or can’t possibly be the best, he won’t stick around. Despite clearly having no shot at the top, the self proclaimed “American Gangster” called out a washed up Wanderlei Silva after losing to Jones.
Silva, known as “The Axe Murderer”, is a former champion but also on the verge of retiring so Sonnen issuing a challenge on that front really exhausts any last shred of credibility he had as far as only fighting to be the best.
Whether the two semi-rivals (Chael openly mocked Silva and Brazil in his rants) ever meet up is questionable but what isn’t up for debate is how Chael Sonnen has trolled MMA fans to get the matches he wants and to ultimately make more money.
Make no mistake, Sonnen has shrewdly maneuvered his way into matches against the elite that he never would have got in a million years without his outlandish antics. Those fights have netted the maximum amount of money he could have hoped for. For that he deserves credit.
Where Sonnen loses is he was legitimately close to achieving his life-long goal of becoming champion. Instead of going the direction of serious contender, he went the direction of hilarious promo guy with no shot of winning.
Maybe he never had it in him anyways. Anderson Silva has said he was injured for their first fight and it’s hard to disagree when you look at how Chael fared in their rematch.
In the end, Chael Sonnen trolled everyone into fame and fortune. He hit mainstream — which few UFC fighters ever do. Still, he never reached the top of his sport and now he’s a joke and nobody can take him seriously. There are consequences to your actions and now Chael’s feeling the effects.
Want to know how an above average fighter got the biggest matches? Just listen to Chael go off on everyone.