Chael Sonnen is all set to make a comeback, but it won’t be with the UFC, as he’s just signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator.
“I’m consistently blown away by the product and presentation that Bellator is bringing to the fans,” Sonnen said in a statement as Bellator’s major coup was announced. “I’m not nearly done competing and I’m coming after everyone, everywhere. I’m not sticking to one weight class either, I fight at ‘Gangster Weight’ and nobody is safe.”
The 39 year-old Sonnen has recently emerged from a two-year suspension after testing positive for a variety of performance enhancing drugs during two random tests in the months prior to a fight with Wanderlei Silva in the UFC back in 2014.
A cocktail of PED’s, including HGH, EPO and HcG, were found in his system, leading to the former two-time middleweight title contender being slapped with the lengthy ban from the sport, which also resulted in him being dropped as a UFC analyst by FOX.
In the years since Sonnen has stayed in the limelight as an MMA analyst for ESPN and via his own ‘You’re Welcome!’ podcast, and had indicated that he wasn’t intending to make a return to the sport after his suspension concluded.
However, after emerging from his suspension it appeared that Sonnen was looking to return to the UFC after all, announcing that he had entered the UFC’s USADA testing pool in July, and later claimed that the results of his first test had come back, “basically clean.”
Those two words could be read a number of different ways, and the fact that he’s now suddenly signing for Bellator, whose drug testing procedures are far less strict and intrusive than the UFC’s, will undoubtedly lead to people drawing their own conclusions as to why Sonnen won’t be returning to the Octagon.
Nonetheless, while Bellator have captured the signature of several other well known former UFC talents like Ben Henderson, Rory MacDonald and Phil Davis in recent times, there’s no doubt that Chael Sonnen is a bigger star in terms of his drawing power, thanks to his charismatic, outspoken persona.
Despite having lost three of his last four fights in the UFC and not having competed in almost three years, Sonnen still has the skill-set to be competitive in the Bellator organization, and needless to say, the company’s CEO Scott Coker is licking his chops at all the potential match-ups they could have in store for him in multiple weight classes.
“Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport,” Coker said. “And I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here. He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight. These are all fights that I’d be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these match-ups together starting before the end of the year.”
Sonnen is believed to be interested in restarting his career at 205lbs, with his sights reportedly set on fighting fomer UFC hall-of-famer Tito Ortiz in November.