There might not be any UFC action this weekend – but that doesn’t stop the Twitter spats from happening.
And this past week, two of the best trash-talkers in the history of the UFC went toe-to-toe, when Chael Sonnen and Conor McGregor went head to head.
It all started with Chael accusing Conor of turning into a “little, rich weirdo” following The Nortorious’ video of him walking back and fourth in front of the TV staring down Max Holloway over the weekend.
The Notorious wasted little time firing back at Chael – “says the little broke weirdo hahahahahaha”
With a punch landed each way, we knew that Chael would go for the kill… And he responded the only way he knows how… Like a GANGSTER!
“It’s not too late to stay off my radar. Just put down the shot glass of awful bottom-shelf whisky, turn off your phone, and back outta the big-boy saloon niiiice n’ sloooow…”
Whilst this little exchange remained relatively tame, we couldn’t help but reminisce on some of the times that Chael took things a little too far. And with that in mind, we wanted to take the readers on a little trip down memory lane, and countdown the Top 5 Chael Sonnen Controversies.
- “Allegedly” Guilty of Money Laundering
On an episode of TMZ in 2012, Harvey Levin told Chael “You were guilty of money laundering”… To which Sonnen promptly responded: “Allegedly”
What made this so funny is that Chael’s run-in with the law was well documented, and there was nothing ‘alleged’ about it. However the charges weren’t laid until 2010.
From a timing perspective, this couldn’t have ended worse for Chael, who at that time, was running for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives.
He ended up winning the Republican primary in the state’s 37th District, however was forced to withdraw from the race, citing “…a 2006 legal issue… that needs my immediate attention”.
Evidently, the Gangster from West Linn pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of money laundering, and was given a slap on the wrist.
At a fan expo Q&A a few weeks later, a fan asked if he would still aspire to become a politician, to which the 185lb contender doubled down on his short stint in public office…
“I actually held public office and I left the only way a person should… In handcuffs”
Well, they don’t call him the “Bad Guy” for nothing…
- Hyping the Bisping Fight: “Fighting Chael Sonnen may be hazardous to one’s health”
It’s not hard to imagine that there was a lot of friendly back-and-forth in the lead up to the title-eliminator bout between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping in 2012. “The Count” had made a name for himself with his relentless trash talking leading into big fights.
Who can ever forget the 10-8 rounds Bisping landed on Jason Mayhem Miller during Season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter? Classic, authentic, and downright humorous.
But heading into his bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2, it was apparent that Bisping had finally met his match on the mic.
Despite the hard weight cut, Chael Sonnen was in fine form during fight week, dropping a number of iconic lines. However this was by far our favourite:
“I don’t walk around looking into cameras and telling people I’m the best fighter in the world just to hear myself talk. I say it for the same reason they put warnings on packages of cigarettes, and fighting Chael Sonnen may be hazardous to one’s health”
And the Bad Guy held true to his word, when he took out a unanimous decision over his British opponent – earning himself a rematch with Anderson Silva for the Middleweight strap at UFC 148.
- Crossing the line with Tito: “That was a nasty line by me”
Much like Michael Bisping, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz always enjoyed a good back and forth with his opponents before the fight.
And whilst he was able to have his way on the mic with the likes of Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, and even Chuck Liddell… Things took a nasty turn when he signed to fight Chael Sonnen.
In true Chael Sonnen style, he planted his bait at the press conference… “Tito, go ahead, tell them what I do so well”
Tito responded with: “Well he talks well. His mouth has gotten him every big fight he’s ever had”
To which Chael responded: “Tito always says I’m using my mouth to get my opportunities. The only person I know who mad money using their mouth is his ex-wife” – referring to adult film actress Jenna Jameson (who had a very public fallout with Tito only years earlier).
The line visibly rocked Tito who could only muster a stuttered response “…Just to correct you, there was never no marriage… You f***n punk”
“That was a nasty line by me” – Chael laughed.
Unfortunately for the Bad Guy, he couldn’t back up his press conference words inside the cage, and tapped out to a rear-naked choke in the very first round. Ouch!
- Noguiera Brothers Story: “He fed the bus a carrot”
During an interview with Ariel Helwani, Chael Sonnen went full steam on all things Brazil – particularly their UFC fighters.
After verbally assaulting Wanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva earlier in the interview, Sonnen changed gear to tell a personal anecdote about the time he saw the Nogueira brothers in Las Vegas.
“I was in Las Vegas when the Nogueira brothers first touched down in America. There was a bus, this is a true story.
There was a bus that pulled up to a red light, and Little Nog tried to feed it a carrot, while Big Nog was petting it He thought it was a horse. This really happened. He tried to feed a bus a carrot, and now you’re telling me this country has computers? I didn’t know that!”
Whilst Chael wouldn’t go onto fighting either of the Nogueira brothers, the human PR machine was in overdrive in 2012, capitalising on every opportunity in front of the camera to ensure that he had plenty of big names lined up for future main event slots.
However the Sonnen-Express gathered so much momentum from that point forward, that he steamrolled straight past Big Nog and Little Nog – who never had the chance to settle the score.
- Responding to his loss at UFC 117: “Misapplication of the rules”
After dominating for 4 and ½ rounds in the UFC 117 main event, Chael Sonnen did the unthinkable, and lost to Anderson Silva via a triangle choke – from a seemingly unlosable position.
After the fight, Chael was peppered with questions from reporters “Chael, what happened?”. Finally the Bad Guy had enough, and on an episode of the Jim Rome show, he let rip.
4 minutes into the episode, Jim says “You dominated that fight, and he comes with a triangle and wins that fight…”
To which Chael cuts him off with “I am so glad you brought that up…”
“What happened was a complete misunderstanding, a complete misapplication of the rules by me.
We’re in the fifth and final round, he locks on a submission and I acknowledge he has it tight by slapping my hand on his leg. I tapped. So what I thought is you go to the cards. I win four rounds, he wins THAT round” – Chael proclaims.
“Apparently, if you tap, it ends the ENTIRE contest, which I was not ever made privy to”
“Do you know it it means to tap?” – Jim asks, puzzled.
“Well I do now” – Chael said with the straightest face from West Linn.
“I gotta plead ignorance on this, Jim… And had anybody told me that tapping would cost me the entire bout, and not just the round, I wouldn’t have tapped”.
The funniest part of the episode came moments later when Jim said “I’m a smart guy Chael, you don’t expect me to believe that…”
To which Chael, at his witty best, responded: “… Well I had hoped you would”
Chael eventually rematched against Anderson Silva at UFC 248. And after dominating the first round, Chael was stopped via a TKO in the 2nd round – all but putting an end to the Sonnen/Silva rivalry that dominated the UFC headlines for a full three years between 2010-2012.
After losing to Silva in 2012, Chael would then go onto challenge Jon Bones Jones for the Light Heavyweight title fight at UFC 259 a year later – again falling short in his quest to hold UFC Gold.
And whilst the Bad Guy never held the 12 pounds of gold inside the cage, he was the undefeated and undisputed champ on the mic for the best part of his career.
And with that, we say thanks for the memories Chael P.