Following his second round TKO loss at the hands of former UFC middleweight champion Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222, Chael Sonnen laid down his gloves in the center of the cage and retired from the sport.
“Listen, I got one thing to say," Sonnen told the audience. "I had a hell of a lot of fun. I had a good run. Scott Coker gave me a five-fight deal, he let me honor all five fights, and ladies and gentlemen, I’m walking out. I appreciate the memories, and goodbye.”
Sonnen won two of his five Bellator fights after a long UFC career that saw him challenge middleweight champion Anderson Silva in a memorable two-fight series in 2010 and 2012. He would go on to face Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title, and although he lost via first round stoppage, he nearly fluked his way into the title as Jones had suffered a broken toe and would not have been able to come out for the second round had Sonnen survived the first.
In a career filled with controversy, "The American Gangster" retired with a record of 30-17-1. He was twice suspended for drug test failures, but that was largely forgotten late in his career as his promo style made it so fans either loved or hated him.
Sonnen drew two monster pay-per-view buy numbers for the fights with Silva and also drew strong TV ratings for fights with Michael Bisping on FOX and Tito Ortiz on Spike TV.
Sonnen is in the unique position now of being featured on both Bellator and UFC broadcasts due to his contract with ESPN that preceded that network picking up UFC television.
Sonnen's biggest career wins were against former champions Bisping, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, and Wanderlei Silva, the last two coming for Bellator.