Former UFC Middleweight contender and new Bellator signing Chael Sonnen has put the Bellator roster on notice, after claiming he fights at ‘gangster weight’, following the news that the 39-year-old signed a multiyear, multi-fight deal with Bellator on Thursday.
“I’m not sticking to one weight class either, I fight at ‘Gangster Weight’ and nobody is safe,” Sonnen said via a press release according to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
"I'm not sticking to one weight class either, I fight at ‘Gangster Weight’ and nobody is safe.”
– @ChaelSonnen, via press release tonight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 16, 2016
The statement prompted a swift response from fellow Bellator newcomer Rory MacDonald, who replied an hour later tweeting “gangster weight sounds good to me”.
gangster weight sounds good to me
— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) September 16, 2016
MacDonald, who is a welterweight traditionally, may be willing to move up a weight class to fight Sonnen who claims that he’s coming after everyone everywhere.
“I’m consistently blown away by the product and presentation that Bellator is bringing to the fans,” Sonnen stated via MMA Junkie. “I’m not nearly done competing and I’m coming after everyone, everywhere. I’m not sticking to one weight class either, I fight at ‘Gangster Weight’ and nobody is safe.”
Sonnen becomes the latest ex-UFC star to join Bellator after Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, Rampage Jackson and MacDonald all signed for the promotion within the last two years.
Bellator CEO Scott Coker labelled Sonnen as an “incredible athlete” and also said that he’d be open to Sonnen fighting MacDonald at middleweight should Rory agree to move up in weight.
“Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport,” Coker stated. “I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were in the process of signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here.
“He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight.
“These are all fights that I’d be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these matchups together starting before the end of the year.”
Sonnen, 39, returns to MMA following a two-year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission after testing positive for human growth hormone (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), anastrozole, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) prior to his fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 175.
Sonnen boasts an impressive 29-14-1 record in professional MMA, but his last fight inside the Octagon was nearly three years ago, a first round knockout loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in November 2013.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena