EXCLUSIVE: An intercepted email from Chael Sonnen’s lawyer to ESPN’s Josh Gross

Most of you remember the email we obtained last year which stated Dana White approved of ‘paid posters’ on MMA message boards. Now from our same source, another email has emerged regarding an apparent beef between Chael Sonnen’s lawyer and ESPN’s Josh Gross. Sometime shortly after last week’s CSAC hearing, Raffi A. Nahabedian digitally composed to Josh Gross a verbal lashing in the form of a very lengthy email that addressed Gross’ appearance on MMA Live as well as his Twitter account.

You definitely want to read this one, folks.

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Good morning.

We have known each other for some time and I had an ongoing respect for you and your reporting. However, I think there is a growing disconnect with my beliefs.

I just watched your interview on MMA Live regarding Chael Sonnen and I respectfully disagree with the manner the information was presented and that crucial information that was purposely left out.

In regards to the testimony issue, there is a continued blatant oversight and disregard for Chael’s testimony/responses to Commissioner Zinkin that fully clarify, explain and vitiate his statement that “he [Chael] spoke to Kizer.” If you read the transcript of Chael’s responses to Commissioner Zinkin (and, perhaps, print them for the public to read), Chael made it unambiguously clear what he meant – “my management and/or my manager.” As someone who represents people/companies, it is not uncommon to hear clients who are represented by agents, managers and attorneys to speak in such a manner (i.e. that they s poke to so-n-so or handled “y” matter). While the initial tweet about Chael’s initial comment is plausibly understandable (solely from the perspective that people like to create controversy to increase readers/viewers), there would not have been such an over zealous and unfounded determination to crucify Chael if there was some responsible journalistic follow-up reporting clarifying Chael’s subsequent testimony. Specifically, what he testified to in response to Commissioner Zinkin (no different than the CSAC issuing a retraction of its incorrect press release and subsequent clarification of its decision). The person who made the initial tweet should have done this which would have eliminated a lot of problems for everyone – Sonnen, Kizer, CSAC, etc.

In terms of what you purposely left out during your interview, I am baffled. How can you omit mentioning the statements made by a federal court judge about Chael during his sentencing in Oregon? (Remember, this is prong 2 of the issues before the CSAC). For your edification (and for that of your followers) here are some quotes from a learned federal court judge about Chael – “extraordinary acceptance of responsibility;” or “a truly remarkable record of a law-abiding, useful life to the community outside this crime.” Sounds like the description of a true villain and lying scumbag from a federal court judge who has certainly seen the worst thereof. And, let’s not forget how Chael’s sentence was reduced (actually, not just reduced but severely reduced) to 2 years probation and a $10,000 fine from a statutory sentencing guideline of 20 years and $500,000. How is it that you disregard and ignore a federal court judge’s decision and the factors giving rise to that decision? Curious, do you have any idea what it takes to be a federal court judge or what they do for a living? More importantly, do you understand that federal court judges make their decisions/determinations on substantive, verifiable facts and evidence that are before them, and not on whims or their own personal feelings to ensure a skewed self-serving perception? Did you report on how the CSAC ignored what a federal court judge said about Chael? Or maybe you can comment on why you left out Chael’s testimony to the CSAC as to his cooperation with the Fed Gov investigators regarding the Oregon transaction or that the entire transaction was ratified by the person he worked for and the company that employed him.

Additionally, why is it that you did not comment on how the CSAC kept discussing testosterone when that was NOT before it (in fact, wasn’t that what the hearing on December 2 was about)? The only two things before the CSAC were Chael’s testimony on December 2 and the Oregon matter (which clearly has nothing to do with MMA or the CSAC “subjective” opinions of Chael which are in stark contrast with a federal court judge’s findings).

There are a host of other issues that I could discuss, but why continue? Except for the fact that people read what you write and listen to what you say, and believe it.

I am ready, willing and able to openly discuss these matters whenever you are; but, please have real facts that are fully supportable and not refutable by the entire record (that is, don’t bring into the discussion self-serving tidbits of your misconstrued perception of news-making misinformation).


Raffi A. Nahabedian, Esq.


Update: It appears that because of this email, both parties have talked and apparently squashed whatever previous beef they had.

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