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Chael Sonnen: What’s Next for the Gangster From West Linn, Oregon?

(Try as he might, Chael just couldn’t figure what dish to bring to a Brazilian BBQ.)

By Jason Moles

Once again, the curtain was pulled back and we saw that he was just as human as you or I, despite his best attempts to convince us otherwise. Once again we witnessed his mystique fade into oblivion with every gloved fist to the face. For a moment, it appeared as if he had been fooling us this whole time. He had to have been. I mean, how can a guy be so unbelievably amazing in the Octagon and do what no other before him has ever come close to doing, and still come up short again?

Now that the cameras have stopped rolling, Chael P. Sonnen finds himself at a crossroads in life, a time when decisions like changing weight classes or changing careers — decisions of great consequence — have to be made,  or so it would seem. Some have tossed around the idea of retirement for the thirty-five year old southpaw. Need I remind you that Sonnen is the one that said, You cannot ‘retire’ from a sport unless you win a world championship. You only quit.? Even after two title shots against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Sonnen is still a lot like my second favorite type of bra: strapless. Add that to the poetic role reversal of Silva making a quip about having his wife fix him a steak after the fight — that twist of the knife, delivered with a champion’s smile — and you can better see how dejected the American Gangster is feeling after his performance at UFC 148.

Maybe you, like many others, think the former politician should change weight classes or go take his shtick to WWE. It’s absurd to think he would move down to 170lbs. given the reported 20+ pounds he had to cut the day before the weigh-ins. Similarly, a move to the 205lb. division isn’t exactly any less of a career suicide than propositioning Dana White to ‘Free CagePotato’ in a hotel lobby. But that WWE idea seems totally legit, right? WWE thinks so too, even if there are others who would advise against it.

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t tune in to watch Sonnen on Raw, if only to see how he’d respond when he’s encouraged to let his character become his identity, and everything he says is scripted. (Oh wait.) But the thing you’ve got to realize is that there is a world of difference between being a wrestler and being a ‘rassler, and if you need an explanation then you probably love drinking cheap pop and don’t mind being called Mark even if it’s not your name. Sure, Sonnen can cut a promo that would make “Rowdy” Roddy Piper proud, has a familiarity with performance enhancing injections, and a silo full of charisma, but he’s a competitor at heart. With a successful pizza restaurant lining his pockets, he doesn’t need to strap on a pair of tights and trade figure-four leg-locks with CM Punk — especially when he’s a pugilist, a fist-fighter, a gangster from the mean streets of Oregon. When you need a sports entertainer, go call up Brock Lesnar. When you need a cage fighter, you call Chael Sonnen.

What then, does Sonnen do now if he can’t beat the champion, but he’s better than everyone in his weight class? Do you give him another rematch? That’s what he’d like to see happen, but that idea has been nixed by the Baldfather himself. Death threats notwithstanding, it’s far more probable that “The Bad Guy” will eventually find himself in a soccer stadium in Rio standing across the cage from the likes of Vitor Belfort, whom Sonnen’s mother just absolutely loves, or Wanderlei Silva, whom Rex absolutely loves. Given the stuff he’s said about them, I’m sure both of these Brazilians would be more than happy to be Sonnen’s next dance partner.

So you see, nothing is really going to change. Chael Sonnen will keep doing what he’s been doing for years…and so will we. He’ll get a phone call from Joe Silva with a name and a date. He’ll sign that contract and, should he get the itch, relentlessly talk trash about his opponent until the point of insanity. All of the major radio hosts will get a heaping pile of witty one-liners, memorable quotes, and sound bytes that will live on forever, like the one about Nogueira trying to feed the bus a carrot.

On the appointed night, as soon as his music hits those speakers, he’ll make that walk and do his job. As for you and I, we’ll eat it up — every last minute of it — and we’ll throw down our money and buy the next card he’s on because we can’t help but want to see him try to back up his outrageous claims. We’ll continue to turn a blind eye to Sonnen’s slightly less-than-honest material and laugh at the absurdity and hilariousness of it all, enabling him to stick with the gimmick that’s brought him so far already.

When the time comes, Sonnen will play his part. What else would he do with himself? An athlete can quit, but a performer will always find his way back to the spotlight.

Cagepotato Comments

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holeeball- July 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm
Next for the xenophobic hillbilly? Well done.
jyveturkey- July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm
Ricardo Guitardo- July 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Chael needs to do 2 things before he can face andy silvia again:

1) Learn how to defend the illegal knee when youa re down.
2) Find a way to counteract illegal vasoline applied to your oppenents body

Once he has the answers to those questions he can rematch against andy silvia.
ArmFarmer- July 11, 2012 at 9:31 am
2 wins and a lack of contenders. That's all it'll take for part 3. @nuhl kuhl, learn the copy paste method. Write your comment, copy it, hit submit, login paste it. If you forgot to copy initially, just hit cancel or whatever and copy it then submit again. Unfortunately, this method is a lot easier and less time consuming than trying to get them to improve the site.
Fried Taco- July 11, 2012 at 7:52 am
Danga is disappointed Chael didn't appear in ESPN's Body issue.
Bandito- July 11, 2012 at 5:53 am
Chael, will continue beating the other contenders... once he has about 4 or 5 under his belt, Dana will set'em up again.
coolsnow7- July 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm
I believe the word you were looking for at the end there is "hilarity"
XENOPHON- July 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm
@ Jason Moles - Quote: "how can a guy be so unbelievably amazing in the Octagon and do what no other before him has ever come close to doing, and still come up short again?"

How about you ask Kenny Florian or Rich Franklin first?
jasonmoles- July 11, 2012 at 4:34 am
I don't think that either of them were "unbelievably amazing in the Octagon."
Null Kuhl- July 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm
Yep, apparently that's the trick. I see your commenting system is just as awesome as the image gallery.
Null Kuhl- July 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm you have to attempt to post a comment in order to get to the login page? And after logging in, do you have to re-post the comment? WTF is going on here?
Get Off Me- July 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm
Winner of Munoz/Weidman.
Null Kuhl- July 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm
As enjoyable of a fight as that would be, it won't happen. If Munoz wins, he gets a title shot; if Weidman wins, he might get a title shot, but I think it would be better for him if he had one more fight before that. I don't think either of them will be very compelling challengers, though. Munoz, while having great GnP, has a ridiculously low takedown completion percentage. Silva will easily stuff his come-from-across-the-ring shoots and make him pay dearly for them. Weidman's TD completion percentage is much higher, but his wrestling still doesn't live up to Sonnen's super aggressive folkstyle. At this point, I don't want to see any other wrestlers face Silva because none of them are as good as Chael. Maybe Hector Lombard after he gets past Tim Boetsch?
Get Off Me- July 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm
Dana has not committed to any challenger for Silva thus far, he will "see" either Munoz/Lombard, I think Lombard is being groomed ahead here, Stann will stand with Lombard and if it goes to the ground he will be in he always is in fights that get to the mat with strong grapplers. I think Lombard has a better chance of KO'ing Stann than Munoz does of out wrestling Weidman. I believe the more exciting fight will be Lombard/Stann and hence the winner being more apt to receive the shot at Silva. Munoz or Weidman will most likely see the winner pulling it out on the cards and so whether it be Weidman/Munoz, I would like to see Chael have to out wrestle them afterwards. I think more people would like to see if either Stann or Lombard could stand and trade with Silva.
Get Off Me- July 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm
It's Boestch/Lombard now, but I see Boestch making the mistake of standing with Lombard..should be a good fight.
Null Kuhl- July 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm