MMA Access: Chael Sonnen and His Legacy

Chael Sonnen and His Legacy
By Christopher Jester

After announcing his retirement last week on UFC Tonight, many have wondered where this recent failed drug test puts the legacy of Chael Sonnen. Is he a potential UFC Hall of Famer? Or is he just one of those rare fighters that existed at a time when the UFC needed him the most? When you look back on the career of Chael Sonnen, it is mired with ups and downs. While his later years were more productive than the former years of his career, Sonnen still always fell short of being the it star of mixed martial arts. Does the drug test only bury his legacy even more?

While it was recently announced that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has only given Chael Sonnen a temporary suspension, it was enough for him to go into retirement. Sonnen claims that the banned substances Anastrozole and Clomiphene were required to transition off testosterone replacement therapy. Regardless, Sonnen finds himself sitting in a position where this will taint his image forever as a cheater. With his former dancing partner in Wanderlei Silva also failing (to take) the random drug test in May, it makes Sonnen appear as a hypocrite too.

But when you look at Sonnen as a whole: he had a gift for gab better than any other mixed martial artist. While he became better known for his rivalry with Anderson Silva, Sonnen had gained some buzz when he fought for the WEC where he had another controversial rivalry with another Brazilian in Paulo Filho. The lead-up to his bouts with Silva is what will mark his legacy in the MMA history. He said and did things that were just unheard of in a mixed martial arts bout buildup before then. He ultimately failed at beating Anderson Silva twice, but he was the first man to show that the once immortal Silva could be beaten. He may have essentially defeated the fear that others had in Silva; setting up the inevitable fall of the middleweight champion to Chris Weidman.

After the last Silva bout, Sonnen went 1 for 3; all three at light-heavyweight. Although it appeared he may have found some resurgence in his submission of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, he fell completely flat against Rashad Evans – a loss so bad that he could have retired after that fight. Instead, fans are left with another failed drug test from Sonnen.

Chael Sonnen is surely a unique fighter with many talents. Opposite Kenny Florian on UFC Tonight, he is perfect as a television personality. It is just a shame that as talented as Sonnen was, he will never get close to fulfilling the career that had at least a couple of years left. Instead we have to continue to enjoy his broadcasting gifts and wonder what will become of his legacy in the future.

Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka. Post your comments directly below! You can also discuss the latest MMA and Video Game News in the PunchDrunkGamer Forums and don’t forget to Follow PDG on Twitter @PunchDrunkGamer and Like the PDG Official Facebook Page!