The gangster from the mean streets of West Linn, Oregon is back, but this time with Bellator.
In a news report by The Associated Press, Chael Sonnen announced his coming out of retirement and his decision to leave the UFC to sign a multi-fight deal with Bellator. Sonnen’s last fight was a TKO loss to Rashad Evans in 2013 after which he tested positive for four banned substances, ultimately leading to his retirement from the sport.
When asked about what made him want to return, Sonnen, who now hosts a podcast and works as a commentator, said he wasn’t ready to take on a desk job.
"There might have been a blink of the eye where I thought it was time to transition behind a desk, but for the most part, I never meant it," Sonnen said. "I was never prepared for it. I knew I was coming back, and there were more guys to beat up. ... I appreciate that you all read the book, but I can see that I left a few chapters out, so it's going to continue."
One opponent who the 39-year old has his eye on is former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz who has been with Bellator since 2014. He made it clear, however, that he is still open to fighting anyone, anytime, anywhere.
"I want to fight right now, and I don't fight in any weight division. I fight at gangster weight. Wherever the competition is, I will show up,” he said. “[Scott] Coker has got guys under contract from 185 to 205. He's signing guys at heavyweight. If he's got guys that want to fight, then let's fight.”
A key factor in his decision to leave the UFC has been a common theme among many of Bellator’s recent signees. Bellator president Scott Coker offered “The American Gangster” a contract that the UFC was not willing to match. Or, in Sonnen’s words, "Zero apostrophe S.”
Sonnen joins several other former UFC stars who jumped ship to Bellator including Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, Matt Mitrione, and others.