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Why We Need Chael Sonnen

Erstwhile UFC middleweight fighter Chael Sonnen stood before the California State Athletic Commission today a man on the precipice.  At issue were the discrepancies between his testimony to them in December in regards to his failed drug screening and his alleged interactions with the Nevada commission, and the stakes were high.  According to Sonnen, he was up for a coaching gig on the fourteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, with the epic insulter going head to head with brash Brit Michael Bisping for top contender status.  “If I don’t get my license today I’m effectively retired,” said Sonnen, as per Josh Gross’s live tweets from the hearing.  “That came from the boss, Dana White.”  Added the man who, in his last ride into battle, pounded the stuffing out of champ Anderson Silva for nearly five rounds before falling prey to a triangle choke: “I worked for this chance my whole life.  I don’t want to retire today.”

The California commission was unmoved, and by a vote of 4-1, upheld their indefinite suspension of the Oregon-native.  With that, the kibosh was put on Sonnen’s TUF coaching bid and shot at the title, and quite possibly his career.  And that’s a shame.

Mixed martial arts needs Sonnen.  It needs him for his ability to talk trash and create hype, and it needs him for his ability to back up that talk with some very real skills in the cage.  Going into his UFC 117 bout against Silva, Sonnen’s mouth went into overdrive spewing vitriol – and it worked.  What should have been a run-of-the-mill match-up between an untouchable striking god of a champ and a tough WEC refugee and grueling grinder of a challenger became one of the most compelling scraps to ever grace the Octagon.  Like no one before and no one since, Sonnen beat the açai out of the Brazilian, and though he lost, he managed to create something out of practically nothing.  He brought the best out of Silva, and left fans hungry for what was sure to be the rematch to end all rematches. 

Does Sonnen deserve to be further punished for his failings?  He served a suspension for a performance-enhancing drug bust and was put on ice by the UFC for his real estate fraud mess.  The California commission believes that isn’t enough.  But the fact of the matter is, no amount of testosterone injections can give you perfectly-timed takedowns and the ability to drop Silva with punches, and white collar crime is a far cry from leading the police on a chase as you rampage through the streets in your oversized vehicle. 

Sure, there are other fighters out there adept at talking trash and generating hype, just as there are those who are competent at dispensing beatings.  Sonnen, however, is different.  He combines it all – in the cage and outside of it – and whether you love him or hate him, you can’t say he isn’t polarizing.  His presence on TUF would’ve breathed life into a stale product, and his name on the UFC’s middleweight roster would’ve made King Silva a marked man.

With him gone, now what?

  • warriordave927

    “RAMPAGE through the streets in your oversized vehicle”,lol, he should have had that copy written. Although I would love to see chael back I can understand the commission doing what they did,especially Keith keizer, sonnen is a politician and used a politicians tactic by lying and trying cover his lie with more lies,I hope this will serve as an example to fighters in the future and just own up to they’re mistakes,kinda like thiago silva did

  • Battlestar

    ‘Why We Need Chael Sonnen’????

    If I can quote one dirty ex politician on the topic of this dirty ex politician/fighter;

    Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit —–Senator Clay Davis

    • sam_snee

       hahahahaha.  “Promethus Bound. An ancient play, one of the oldest we have. About a
      simple man who was horrifically punished by the powers that be for the
      terrible crime of trying to bring light to the common people. In the
      words of: Ascyllius, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I cannot tell you how much consolation I find in these slim pages.”-Clay Davis

      • Battlestar

         Gotta Love the #ClayDavisGems

    • jim genia

      Clay Davis is a great man who loves the city of Baltimore. 

  • Mr Kitty

    Great article, I couldn’t agree more. As for the “That came from the boss, Dana White.” Am I to understand that Dana White won’t allow Sonnen back in the UFC? Why can’t Sonnen simply fight in other states or at least attempt to get licensed elsewhere? I’m sure it could be worked out.

    • warriordave927

      Think of it this way if someone commits a crime in California is it ok for them to move to Nevada and live free of any charges in another state, if the ufc allows it to happen then it tells other fighters its ok to take steroids or break rules because there’s other states that will still allow you to fight

  • sam_snee

    i disagree. Chael Sonnen may draw ratings, but at what cost to the sport’s image? how does he help persuade people to let their children watch this sport. How does he bring in new types of fans? maybe some jackasses who like shit talking. I mean, theres Apollo Creed, and then theres this guy. Lets stick to funny trash talk, not racist, red neck republican ignorant talk. Im glad he’s gone. Jim, i see your point but i think its rather shallow and short sighted. agree to disagree

    • c dizzle

      honestly i agree with sam… sonnens trash talking is just tacky, but i wouldnt want to see him leave the sport. i think hes a great wrestler with an ability to exchange punches. as a person i absolutely hate the guy, but i can respect his skills as a fighter.

  • i like sexy time

    Hes a lier and a cheat. Ban him for life! The only reason hes a good fighter is because hes popping pills to boost his testosterone. No pills early KO to the other guy!

    • The Jester

      Yep “popping pills” teaches world class wrestling and great cardio. Right.

      Haha ban him for life? Just like Rampage got banned for life for in fact going on a rampage or Josh Barnett got banned for life for failing multiple drug tests and continuously lying about it? Just like that? The CSAC is just trying to prove a point. Many have done much worse and are still able to earn a living.  

      • i like sexy time

        The subject is “Chael Sonnen” in case you didnt no. But if your talking about rampage and Barnett yes they should be band too. Basically these drugs make you stronger and go on longer and yes makes your cardio better. FOOL!

        • The Jester

          I was just making a comparison there, guy.

          If abused they will make you stronger but they absolutely will not help your cardio do some research or maybe actually work out or train fighing.

          And good job not acknowledging the “teaches world class wrestling” part.

          And if you think Sonnen, Rampage, and Barnett should all get banned then maybe you should start up your own kangaroo court get them banned then move on to the NBA, MLB, and NFL and take out all the law breakers there.

          • c dizzle

            haha he got told 

  • Matt Silliman

    Love the article, and look how many people respond.  Love him or hate him Sonnen garners attention.

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  • Khalistansfinest

    The guy lied about a conversation he had with a important guy at the commission, sonnen is a lier!!! You can be the greatest westler and talk the best trash but if your a lier then you ain’t shit!!!

  • Ed Lib

    Jim, you really like trash talk.

    You know why I love US? Because things work there! There´s no bullshit or trash talk that can forgive any citizen who has been jeopardizing the accomplishement of the law. And it´s institutions are serious aswell.

    Sonnen wants to be fighter, so he has to behave like one. That´s it. And damm, I´d love to see him back for his second title shot. 
    But ask any fighter, to be on UFC´s octagon, what you do outside of the cage matters as much as you do on the inside.  

  • sandman

    Problem is there are athletes across the board in every sport that do stupid things but don’t get disciplined equally. Too much political bullshit involved in every thing we do….

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  • Mra-nelson

    Sonnen should have been forced to listen to a continueous loop of himself as punishment for deceiving the commission,..instead, we have been forced to listen….ohhh the humanity!!!…..

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