Friday night’s Bellator 222 card at Madison Square Garden saw the retirement of mixed martial arts legend Chael Sonnen. The outspoken MMA fighter lost in the second round to Lyoto Machida and shortly after the bout, announced his retirement from the octagon.
Sonnen’s career saw him fight 55 times as he compiled a 31-17-1 record over the course of 22 years. The MMA fighter spent time in both UFC and Bellator during his career along with making a name for himself as a broadcaster.
“The American Gangster” will go down in history as a top fighter who was able to find success in MMA’s top two promotions. He will be remembered for a number of great fights along with his motormouth that drew the ire of fans and critics.
AmericaBet looks at 5 memorable moments from Chael Sonnen’s MMA career.
- Controversial finish against Paulo Filho
Sonnen signed on to fight at WEC 31 against Middleweight champion Paulo Filho. The fight was stopped in the fifth minute of the second round as match referee Josh Rosenthal called for the bell.
After the fight went to the mat, Rosenthal claimed Sonnen gave up. Sonnen adamantly defended himself stating he only said “no” when he was asked if he quit.
The two fought again 11 months later with Sonnen claiming victory.
- Joins Bellator and fights Tito Ortiz
In 2016, Sonnen left the UFC and signed a multi-year deal with upstart fight promotion Bellator. The MMA group signed Sonnen and promptly promoted him against rival Tito Oritz in January 2017 at Bellator 170. Sonnen tapped out at the 2:03-mark in the first round due to a rear naked choke.
- Court conviction
Not all of Sonnen’s moments are MMA related nor are they all memorable for a positive reason. Sonnen was convicted of money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud when he negotiated plumbing repairs for a property in Oregon.
As a licensed Oregon realtor, Sonnen negotiated for the home’s title company to receive repairs provided from his mother’s company. The repairs were never made.
Sonnen was given a two-year probation sentence and $10,000 fine after he gave evidence against others in the scheme.
- Loss to Anderson Silva
Sonnen took on UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in August 2010. “The American Gangster” had been chasing the Middleweight belt claiming three straight wins in the octagon to earn it.
The two battled in the UFC Fight of the Night going five rounds before Silva forced Sonnen to submit to an armbar. The fight was voted the 2010 Fight of the Year.
- Destroys Wanderlei Silva on the mic and then in the octagon
Sonnen is best known by many MMA fans for his unorthodox comments about fellow fighters. None were more bizarre than in his 2011 Aol.com interview with Ariel Helwani in which he trash talked the Brazilian.
Sonnen claimed he would “do a home invasion” on Silva’s house and take pictures of the fighter in his bed. “The American Gangster” went on to claim Silva’s fights for Pride Fighting Championship were works and predetermined.
Despite launching his war of words in 2011, the two fighters didn’t meet in the octagon until June 2017 for Bellator 180. Sonnen won by decision.