Chael Sonnen announces retirement at Bellator 222

Robert Vallejos, MMATorch Managing Editor

Chael Sonnen (photo credit Winslow Townson © USA Today Sports)

After suffering a TKO loss to Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222, Chael Sonnen announced his retirement from MMA.

In his post-fight interview with John McCarthy, Sonnen said, “I had a hell of a lot of fun, I had a good run, Scott Coker gave me a 5-fight deal, he let me honor all five fights, and ladies and gentleman Im walking out, I appreciate the memories, and goodbye.”

Sonnen finishes his Bellator career with a record of 2-3, with wins over Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson, while losing to Machida, Tito Ortiz, and Fedor Emelianenko.  Overall, Sonnen retires with a 31-17-1 record.

Sonnen never captured a major MMA title. However, in the UFC,  Sonnen challenged Anderson Silva twice for the middleweight title, and Jon Jones once for the light heavyweight title. In the WEC Sonnen defeated middleweight champion Paulo Filho in a non-title fight. (Filho missed weight)

Sonnen became well-known for his pre-fight thrash talk and bravado. In particular, Sonnen gained considerable attention for his verbal barbs against Anderson Silva prior to their fight at UFC 117.

Despite being a loss, UFC 117 may represent the high-point of Sonnen’s fighting ability. Sonnen appeared to have the fight won against the favored Silva, before succumbing to a triangle armbar in the 5th round. Critics widely praised the fight.

Ironically UFC 117 also marked the beginning of Chael Sonnen’s association with performance enhancing drugs. After the fight Sonnen tested positive for elevated testosterone. Sonnen’s UFC career would come to an end after he was suspended for two years, after failing multiple drug tests in 2014.

Sonnen currently serves as an MMA analyst for ESPN.

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