Chael Sonnen has come out of retirement but instead of returning to the UFC he has signed with Bellator MMA. The 39-year old now has a multi-fight contract with Bellator. The last time Sonnen fought he lost to Rashad Evans in November of 2013. In 2014 Sonnen failed multiple drug tests and was suspended for two years by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Sonnen announced his return to fighting with a tweet:
The Rulers Back.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) September 16, 2016
Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said:
Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport and I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here. He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight. These are all fights that I’d be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these match-ups together starting before the end of the year.
Chael Sonnen has said that if he tests positive for a banned substance he will forfeit all of his financial compensation and will also have a $500,000 fine. Sonnen also went on to say that he now regrets having done performance enhancing drugs.
Bellator MMA has made a strong push to sign fighters hitting the free agency market. Chael Sonnen is a well-known fighter who has always been a needle-mover. He will be a great asset to any fight card and will draw more eyes from MMA fans and casual sports fans alike.
It is also worthy of noting that Chael Sonnen entered the drug testing pool with the UFC a few months ago. UFC drug testing is performed by USADA, who has been catching a lot of fighters using performance-enhancing drugs. Sonnen has also been unapologetic in the past about his use of PEDs. His pivot towards feeling remorse for cheating in the past is an interesting pivot for him to take. Bellator MMA has a much more laid-back form of drug-testing that has drawn a lot of criticism from the MMA community as being potentially dangerous.