Bellator scores the “Bad Guy”.
In one of the more shocking signings of the past couple of years, Chael Sonnen has parted ways with the UFC and is heading to rival promotion Bellator MMA. News of the signing was confirmed by MMAFighing after an initial report by The Associated Press.
Sonnen (29-14-1), who is 39 years old, has not competed since his November, 2013 loss to Rashad Evans. He recently served a two-year suspension handed by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing multiple drug tests in 2014.
Sonnen told The MMA Hour in July that he was interested in fighting again and had officially entered the UFC’s USADA drug testing pool.
“I definitely have that itch,” Sonnen said. “I fantasize about it. But it’s one step at a time. I’m not holding back from you. I’m not acting like my return is some kind of breaking news. I’d tell it to you right now. But I have to pass this first test, quite frankly. It’s still out there. I’ve gotta pass it. If I pass that, I’ll pass all of them. But I have to know that everything is out. Boom, step one down.”
Sonnen went 6-5 in his time as a UFC fighter and competed for both the UFC Middlweight and Light Heavyweight championships and faced the likes of Demian Maia, Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, and of course a well documented rivalry with Anderson Silva.
With Chael Sonnen still being one of the most prolific fighters to ever step in the cage, this makes this signing one of the biggest for Bellator this year, after major signings such as Benson Henderson, and Rory Macdonald.