Chael Sonnen signs multi-fight deal with Bellator MMABy Josh Nason | @joshnason | Sep 15, 2016 7:11 pm
As we've learned in MMA, never say never.
After telling anyone that would ask that his in-cage career was done, 39-year-old Chael Sonnen will return to the action with Bellator MMA, announced via the Associated Press Thursday night.
A Bellator press release says Sonnen will fight at 205 pounds, but in a quote in the release, he says he's not sticking to one weight class. Sonnen and his new boss Scott Coker will hold a conference call Friday while Sonnen is expected to be on screen at Bellator's Friday night show on Spike.
Sonnen, who signed a multi-year, multi-fight deal, told the AP, "I'm a heel. Heels lie." He also told the AP's Greg Beacham that he wants his first fight to be in November: "The Bad Guy vs. The Bad Guy." The second Bad Guy in that equation is assumed to be fellow Bellator signee and one-time Sonnen opponent-to-be Wanderlei Silva.
However, Ariel Helwani tweeted that he's been told he wants Tito Ortiz "ASAP".
Sonnen also told Beacham that the reason he signed with Bellator and not UFC: "Zeros apostrophe S".
“Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said, “I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were in the process of 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 matchups together starting before the end of the year.”
The longtime UFC middleweight contender came to prominence in 2009-10 during a run that saw him win three in a row en route to a shot at then-middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Sonnen had called out "The Spider" in promos and interviews as he evolved into a true character that was beloved by some and reviled by others.
After losing in heartbreaking fashion to Silva during their first 2010 meeting, Sonnen was put on the shelf for a year due to testing for elevated testosterone levels. He fought his way back to a big money rematch with Silva and was bested via 2nd round TKO.
The final three fights of his UFC career were at light heavyweight where he went 1-2 with a light heavyweight title shot and loss against then-champion Jon Jones in that mix. Sonnen was last seen getting beat by Rashad Evans by first round TKO in November 2013.
This summer, Sonnen completed a two-year ban from the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to testing positive for multiple drugs.