As far as MMA careers go, Chael Sonnen out kicked his coverage. On a skill for skill basis, the 42-year-old wrestler’s career should not have be this storied.
Now retired, Sonnen’s MMA career is a success story about hard work, character building, and being a salesman at heart. MMA is sports entertainment and Sonnen leaned into that fact better than nearly all of his peers.
Sonnen retired last night at Bellator 222 following getting crushed by Lyoto Machida. It was Sonnen’s time and he knew it.
During the Bellator 222 presser, Sonnen was asked a gut wrenching question about his late Father and a promised he made to him before he died.
Just brutal stuff. Much like us watching Jessica Eye crying as she works her way through a concussion, this question needed to be asked.
MMA fans, media, anyone involved in the human cage fighting community has to see these types of things. Yeah it’s uncomfortable, but so is fighting for sport.
Sonnen gave a real, honest answer and it’s highly doubtful he even minded the question at all. Sonnen has been talking about ‘promise to be a world champion’ conversation he had with his father since before the Tito Ortiz fight. Add to the fact Sonnen wrote a fantastic fight week blog, where he mentioned the promise again, and the question makes even more sense.
“I started in mixed martial arts with one goal: to win a world championship. It was a promise I made to my dad, and it’s the only promise I ever made to him that I have not kept. I have done everything in my power to keep the promise, and I got close a few times, but in the end I have always come in second. I’m still working toward my goal, though, and the promise I made all those years ago remains very much a motivation.
I think about that goal, that promise, every day when I go to practice. My body gets a little more sore now that I’m in my 40s, and it takes me a few more minutes to warm up now. But once I get warmed up, I go just as hard as I always have. I’ve been competing since I was a kid, first in wrestling and now in MMA. It’s the only life I know.”
Yeah, promise or no promise your Dad is proud of you Chael.