Jordan Burroughs spoke to us here at Pundit Arena in an interview which will be released in two parts ahead of his showdown with Ben Askren next week.
The Olympic gold-medalist, four-time world champion, two-time undefeated national champion and three-time All-American, Burroughs, spoke to us here at Pundit Arena for an exclusive interview in promotion of HowUdish.
HowUdish is an app designed to give its users a direct insight into the eating habits and diets of their favourite athletes – while helping them find dishes that are suited to their tastes and nutritional lifestyle.
During our conversation, Jordan delved into his attraction to HowUdish, his upcoming showdown with Ben Askren on Monday, and his thoughts on an eventual switch to MMA in the future.
For this, the first part of the three-part feature, we spoke about a recent back-and-forth he had with the famed mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen and how his desire to fight at least once in MMA caused something of a rift between the two.
Upon speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and telling him that he would be interested in taking a fight in MMA, the former University of Oregon All-American extended an offer to Burroughs via Twitter.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) April 16, 2019
To which the Olympic gold-medalist responded:
I’ve made more than that wrestling. Add a zero and call me.
— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) April 16, 2019
Sonnen was quite clearly annoyed by the response, turning up the heat on Burroughs with his first video response – which aired live on ESPN.
Jordan then responded with an invitation to meet face-to-face at Monday’s Beat The Streets event.
How about this: When you’re done assuming you have any idea what my value is, come make me a serious offer, man-to-man — how real business is done. I’m available May 6 at Beat The Streets where I’ll be putting it on one of your guys in “My Sport.” Your ticket will be at Will Call
— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) April 18, 2019
Chael, never one to be outdone, then posted a lengthy video to his official YouTube page in which he broke down the ‘worth’ of the world’s greatest wrestler.
In an examination of the manner in which prize money is allocated in the world of freestyle wrestling, Sonnen likened the process to ‘charity’ and cited his own position as someone who donates regularly to the sport as evidence.
Now, Burroughs has fired back, questioning Sonnen’s supposedly waning connection to the ins and outs of the sport.
“He is out of touch with the sport. He may have been a wrestler a long period of time ago but he has no idea how wrestlers can make revenue and how much money I make yearly.
“I think the one thing he is educated about is how much the UFC or other fight organisations would be willing to pay me to get into MMA. I think that it’s a process.
“Very few people just come into MMA with so much of a buzz or so much of a following that they can demand an exorbitant amount of money. That’s going to be difficult to do.
“So I think he made a modest offer but he’s out of touch and uneducated in terms of how Olympic athletes make money. It was disrespectful to all wrestlers – if he calls himself a wrestler and a fan of the wrestling community – to potentially consider all wrestlers around the world charity cases.
Sonnen is among the most vibrant and verbally sharp characters in the history of mixed martial arts and since the launch of his official YouTube channel, he has been able to channel his skills on the mic into the perfect medium.
Burroughs, aware of Chael’s penchant for the ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek, expressed his uncertainty over how serious the former two-time UFC title-challenger was in his remarks but nevertheless, made it clear that the comments were damaging to the general perception of the sport.
“Honestly, I don’t know if he’s serious or if he’s just being Chael and just making fun. Look I don’t really know him personally. But he has been around the sport for a long time and he has done a tremendous job in helping to promote the sport on numerous occasions in support of wrestling.
“I’ve heard him in interviews talk about how much he enjoys the sport. That’s a good thing. I don’t have any beef with him. Honestly, to me, nothing’s personal.
“After watching that video, I was like ‘wow’. I don’t know if he thinks he knows, but the sad part about it is – for a lot of MMA fans who don’t really know, now that is their understanding of the sport of wrestling and how we do it.
“I’m making a little bit more than fifty thousand dollars a year and I can promise you that Chael pays very little, if any, of what I’ve ever made in my ten years as a senior-level wrestler.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena