(Props: UFC on FOX)
Chael Sonnen — the American Gangster, the Bad Guy, the most entertaining talker and most unabashed liar in the history of mixed martial arts — has announced his retirement after sixteen and a half years of professional MMA competition. Sonnen broke the news on this evening’s installment of UFC Tonight. As the 37-year-old former middleweight title contender explained, he planned to continue using the estrogen blockers he had just tested positive for, in order to get his health back to normal without testosterone replacement therapy. And so, he’s taken himself out of the game.
You can watch Sonnen’s full retirement statement above, which naturally contains his usual massaging of the truth and dubious pleas of ignorance regarding the athletic commission’s rules. The important stuff is below…
“I want to talk directly to the thousands and thousands of fans who have supported me throughout my career. Guys, I had a great time. And there are so many people to thank, from the leadership of the UFC, to the people here at FOX that have given us such a wonderful platform and opportunity.
“I want to thank my coach, Clayton Hires, who has stood by me through thick and thin, who taught me how to work hard, who taught me about discipline. I want to thank Roy Pittman and Dave Sanville, the coaches that I first had when I very first walked into a wrestling room. And these guys have been great.
“I want to thank Bill Brady of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, a man I am proud to call my friend. I got a second wind in fighting, I got to come back, and it was solely due to Bill Brady, and I’m very proud to know him and that our paths have crossed.
“I don’t want to be out of bounds, I want to stay within compliance. But in the three years that I have studied these rules, I’ve gotten conflicting reports and I’m no closer to understanding them now than I’ve ever been. Look, my health is going to come first, my family will always come first. And someday, I will not have the title of fighter. I will lose that title. But I will never lose the title of parent and father, that is what’s very important to me. And at this time I would like to officially announce my retirement from competitive mixed martial arts.
“I am officially done. I will not step foot in that Octagon again.”
As with all bold statements made by Sonnen, maybe we shouldn’t interpret this as the gospel truth. Fighters have a tendency to go back on sudden retirement claims as soon as the itch to compete strikes them again. Then again, maybe I’m just in denial about the loss of one of MMA’s most lovable villains. More to come tomorrow…