With both his steroid suspension and money laundering charge now finally behind him, Chael Sonnen resurfaced in the media today in an interview with Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’ show.
On the show Sonnen talked about his fraud charge relating to his time as a Realtor in Oregon, and attempted to downplay it, describing it as a “quirk of law” that he hadn’t been fully aware of at the time the incident happened.
Despite that he says he takes full responsibility for his actions and has paid the price for them.
Now Sonnen has one last hoop to jump through before he can return to fighting – a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission run by Keith Keizer to explain his recent indisgretions and convince them that he is fit to have his license to fight renewed in the state.
It’s something that Sonnen appears happy to do, and admits that if the shoe was on the other foot he would do the same thing.
Throughout the conversation Sonnen repeated a couple of phrases several times – that “a man takes responsibility for his irresponsibility” and that he “would not make the same mistake twice.”
He also added that he has now changed his management team in an effort to show the commission that he is being pro-active in his efforts to turn over a new leaf.
With regards to the hearing, Sonnen believes it will take place sooner rather than later – stating that it could happen “as soon as Friday” or if not then sometime before the end of the month.
If that goes well then Sonnen will finally be able to step back into the Octagon, and he confirms that the suspension that the UFC imposed upon him after his money laundering charge has now been lifted.
In fact, despite all the dirty laundry that’s been aired regarding his life outside the cage Sonnen says that his relationship with the UFC has “strengthened ten-fold.”
It certainly seems as if the UFC are willing to forgive him as rumors have been sweeping around the MMA community recently that they were considering offering him one of the coaching roles on TUF.
That would hinge on whether Sonnen gets his license back in Nevada though, and beyond that he says that the UFC haven’t approached him directly about it yet, and that he’s “not sure whether he would jump at the chance” even if they did.
As for who he might fight next, Sonnen says that due to all the turmoil in his personal life over the past few months he’s been somewhat distracted and so has asked the UFC to, “give me the worst guy you’ve got under contract.”
He then joked that they responded by saying Wanderlei Silva wasn’t available – a quip that’s certainly not going to go down well when ‘The Axe-Murderer’ hears about it.
It does seem as if Sonnen’s attentions are now focused on Michael Bisping though, saying, “I don’t like him, he doesn’t like me. I want to fight him, he want’s to fight me.”
Despite that Sonnen suprisingly sticks up for the Brit over his spitting incident at UFC 127, believing that the matter should now be closed after Bisping apologized and was punished financially by the UFC.
With talk of his legal disputes out of the way Sonnen was now beginning to sound like his old self as he praised new light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones while simultaneously taking a swipe at the rest of the 205lb division, calling them all “cowards” for not stepping forward to challenge the young prodigy.
Asked whether he would move up to 205lbs if asked by the UFC, Sonnen replied, “I will fight any man god ever made.”
Giving his thoughts on a potential Anderson Silva Vs GSP fight, Sonnen stated that he hoped St.Pierre did get that fight as he’ll need a new title to challenge for after Jake Shields, who he’s been training with recently, defeats him at UFC 129.
Finally, Sonnen also spoke about the recent Silva Vs Belfort title bout, and chose not to praise the champion, but rather to criticize Belfort for not taking the fight to the champion.
If you want to watch the full interview for yourself then it should be online sometime tomorrow on MMAfighting.com.