Chael Sonnen is currently suspended from both competing in MMA due to the illegal use of steroids prior to his title fight with Anderson Silva last year, and from the UFC after being charged with money laundering at the start of the year.
Nevertheless, he may yet be back in the cage sooner rather than than later. His steroid suspension ends early next month, while it’s believed that he will get away without jail time when he’s sentenced for his money laundering charges on March 26th.
With that in mind you’d expect that Sonnen, who came as close as anybody to stopping Silva’s long unbeaten reign as champion, would be working hard in the gym to prepare for his return, and potentially another title run.
According to his long time friend and training partner Matt Lindland in a new interview with Head Kick Legend, that’s not the case.
“Chael is in the gym, not as frequent as he should be. Three or four times a week is not as frequent as he should be. He should probably be putting in high volume doing doubles everyday right now building his skill sets while he has some time off. Not having to worry about getting in shape and the best prepared he can be, just adding more skill sets to what he’s already go. He’s a super talented athlete and he’s got all the potential in the world. He has to use this opportunity to build his skills and really when you’re going through “garbage” like that, it’s a great outlet for you to get some of that emotion out and just hit someone in the head and not having to think about all the crap that’s going on.”
I’d have to say Lindland is spot on here. While it’s understandable that Sonnen may be a little distracted due to the turbulent nature of his personal life over the past few months, he should be smart enough to realize that it’s crucial he makes a big impression upon his return to the Octagon.
That’s important now more than ever as at 33 years of age he doesn’t have an unlimited amount of time left in the sport, and his future prospects outside of the cage aren’t as bright as they once were.
Just a year ago Sonnen was running for Oregon State Representative and also held a job as a Realtor. Recent events have left his political ambitions in tatters however, and it’s also rumored that as part of his upcoming plea bargain he may have to give up his Realtor’s license.
Therefore MMA is the best thing he has going for him right now, and he can’t afford to blow this opportunity. Being a master trash-talker is all well and good, but words will quickly become redundant if he can’t continue to back them up in the Octagon.