Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground 2 event is likely to be headlined by a massive showdown between two big names in the world of MMA.
During an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Sonnen announced that he has booked former foe Jon Jones against recent UFC middleweight title challenger Dan Henderson in an Eddie Bravo Invitational(EBI) rules grappling match at his December 11th show in Portland, Oregon.
Strangely, Sonnen seemed to be unaware that, mere moments prior to his conversation with Helwani, USADA had handed Jones a one-year ban due to his out-of-competition drug test failure on June 16th – which of course famously scuppered his rematch with Daniel Cormier just days before it was scheduled to headline UFC 200 on July 9th.
However, the fact that Sonnen had set this contest up prior to sentencing suggests he is confident that a grappling bout will be unaffected by the ruling.
“I don’t think that affects it,” Sonnen told Helwani.
Jones still faces possible disciplinary action from the Nevada Athletic Commission as well, though, but Sonnen didn’t seem overly worried about that either.
“Grappling never has [been effected] in the past, but the commission, if they ask for something, particularly if you’re making a deal, you want to do it their way,” Sonnen said. “So I imagine there could be some red tape there.”
“I don’t have a concern about it. But I suppose we have to go back to the other side and make sure there’s nothing missing there(via BloodyElbow).”
While other state athletic commissions would likely uphold any suspension placed on Jones by the NAC, Sonnen said that his previous Submission Underground show did not fall under the jurisdiction of a state athletic commission anyway. This was due to the fact that the bouts do not involve any striking.
“As long there is no blow involved – that’s how it’s defined – as long is there is no blow involved,” said Sonnen. “I will be regulated by the EBI.”
Jones and Henderson were slated to face each other in a UFC light-heavyweight contest all the way back in 2012, but ‘Hendo’ was unable to compete after suffering an MCL tear in camp. This lead to the cancellation of the entire UFC 151 event.
This historical footnote is what inspired Sonnen to make this grappling bout.
“We thought, well, you know what, that does make some sense,” said the former two-weight UFC title challenger. “That’s the match that never happened, and we might be the only promotion to ever get these two guys together. So there it is.”
Submission Underground 2 will also feature a bout between former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye.