Chael Sonnen spoke recently on his own views on the ‘McGregor vs the UFC’ saga and how he feels that history may serve as an indicator on how exactly things may play out.
Chael Sonnen is a man known just as much for his mouth as he is for his actions inside the octagon. As an MMA athlete, he challenged for the UFC’s middleweight championship twice and their light-heavyweight championship once. In the wake of his latest matchup, an underwhelming first-round loss to Tito Ortiz, he came under much criticism for his performance, and though many believe that the fight’s legitimacy was suspect to say the least, it was a contest between two men who were well past their respective primes.
These days, most of his notoriety is earned through his frequent and often overblown statements about current events in the world of MMA, usually, through the medium of his popular You’re Welcome! With Chael Sonnen podcast. In its most recent episode, Chael spoke about the ongoing rift that seems to be forming between the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, the UFC, and its biggest and most powerful star, Conor McGregor.
UFC President Dana White recently spoke at UFC Denver’s post-fight press conference about the increasingly difficult-to-predict Irishman, and despite their apparently warm relationship in the past, he did not hold back in standing firm against Conor and his rebellious nature. His decision to hold a PPV press conference, to make a post on Instagram on the same night bearing the caption “F**k the UFC”, as well as his now seemingly inevitable collision course with the world of boxing and Floyd Mayweather brought out a thinly-veiled threat from White,
“When you’re about to go on and do a pay-per-view where you charge people five bucks to hear you talk, I’m sure you’ve got to say some crazy s**t, alright. You know how I feel about Conor, I’ve always shown Conor nothing but respect and if he wants to go down that road with us, let me tell you, it will be an epic fall.”
Now, in the latest edition of his aforementioned podcast, Sonnen used his platform to look at the rise and subsequent decline of the former-heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski as something he can see as a reference point for the supposed ‘fall’ White had promised McGregor.
“When Randy Couture retired and Tito Ortiz got into his pissing match and stepped aside, they were left with absolutely no stars and they created one overnight called Andrei Arlovski. And Arlovski became recognized as and believed to be – all the way down to reporters who are supposed to know what they’re doing, he was believed to be the scariest guy on the planet.”
“His skills were not great but he had the look and he had the marketing machine behind him and the next thing you knew, not only was he ranked #1, but he was also selling out arenas. The point I’m trying to make, and Conor may not know this story, they created something out of nothing overnight, it literally took them just over a week to do it.”
“They got him that strap, they picked his opponents. He headlined and fought Paul Buentello for the world championship. Now this is not meant to insult Paul but the reality is that there is no time in fighting in which Paul Buentello was a true #1 contender but there are ways to do it, it has happened before. Tito [Ortiz] was soon forgotten. Tito – who was the biggest star at the time – could not get an appearance at the local country fair and the same thing can happen with Conor. And you think that it can’t, but it can, and it can happen overnight.”
Chael Sonnen is a man whose opinions can often border on absurd and while Arlovski did indeed earn his belt with a win over a guy who was maybe not that best 265lb-r in the world, it does seem to be a bit of a stretch to compare him to the multi-faceted powerhouse that is McGregor, who fought the legendary José Aldo and one of the greatest lightweights of all time, Eddie Alvarez to earn his. Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, he has achieved his success not only as a result of his skill as a fighter, but also due to his charisma, loyal fanbase, innovative approach to combat and his bulletproof mentality.
Sonnen’s views – as always – are ones best taken with a grain of salt but in continuing on from there he spoke again with Arlovski to the forefront, warning McGregor of the dangers of going head-to-head with the dominant fight-promotion.
“If he wants to puff and if he puffs a little too hard. If in the office he becomes too hard to deal with and they can’t get something done. It’s going to be game over, and it’s going to be game over in record time. And that’s what he doesn’t understand. He thinks he’s going to come on shows like this [podcasts] or go on Sports Centre and tell his side, he will not. When we all get the email that says ‘he’s out and this is who’s in’, that’s who we are then going to talk to.”
“If he marks out for his own gimmick and he starts behaving the way he’s saying he’s behaving – and that will happen over time, if he says something enough times he’s just going to become that person. He’s going to find out the same way Andrei Arlovski did, because when they created Andrei Arlovski, Andrei eventually started to believe it too and they started paying him more and more.”
“Eventually Andrei puffed too hard and all of a sudden he wasn’t fighting Paul Buentello’s anymore, all of a sudden he’s locked in that cage with guys like Tim Sylvia. It’s like, ‘hey man, as good as you think you are, not only is there a guy who can beat you, we know who the guy is and we will put his name opposite your’s once you force us to and we will show you, time and time again, who is in control here and who really set this table.”
Chael Sonnen once more proves his god-given ability to move against the grain and though his views on the UFC’s lightweight champion as a modern day Andrei Arlovski are bordering on sensationalism, you can be certain that his latest rant will get the people talking, a talent that the American Gangster has mastered over the years.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena