Chael Sonnen: Has He Jumped the Shark?
Chael Sonnen’s rise to prominence in the MMA stratosphere has nothing to do with his accomplishments as a fighter or lack thereof, but more to do with the sly innuendos, quick-witted remarks and a penchant for emitting sublimely outrageous vocalizations from his indefatigable oral cavity.
Though some find his antics tongue-in-cheek, there are others who visualize him as an attention-seeking, offensive piece of nothingness, and whose only claim to fame was a failed attempt at unseating Anderson Silva as the UFC middleweight champion.
The same contingents believe Uncle Chael’s incessant rhetoric has passed its sell-by date and as such he should disappear from whence he came.
I on the other hand beg to differ, and regardless of his over-the-top behaviour, I don’t believe the Oregon native has jumped the shark, and here’s why.
3. Promotional Skill Set
Sonnen’s promotional savvy has gotten him to where he is at present, a skill set that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Dana White and the Fertitta brothers.
The ex-realtor was at his supreme Sonnen-esque best during the lead up to his clash with Michael Bisping at UFC on FOX 2, never more so than at the Chicago presser.
You're looking at the reflection of perfection. You're looking at the man who gets all your attention. You're looking at the man with the biggest arm. At the man with the greatest charm, the man in Chicago who will do harm to the guy three doors down.
Whatcha gonna do, when you know who? Howya gonna deal, with the man of steel? How ya gonna react to Sonnen's attack? Tune in on the 28th! 8 p.m. Eastern Time! You'll find out who the real champion is.
Does anyone here know there is a fistfight going on in the United Center on Saturday night, at 8 p.m. in the East and 5 in the West, and yours truly will be headlining it? Is anybody here aware of that?
To Zuffa LLC, Sonnen might be a diamond in the rough, but he’s a precious and lucrative one nonetheless.
His ability to sell a fight is bound to keep him on the payroll for a while yet.
Sonnen jumping the shark? I believe White and Co. will suggest otherwise.
2. Aftermath of Fight with Anderson Silva
Prior to and in the aftermath of that fateful night when Chael P. Sonnen witnessed his chance of UFC glory go up in smoke, he’s done his damnedest to coerce Anderson Silva into a rematch whilst trying to convince everyone else that he’s earned that right.
And you know what? It worked.
This wasn’t a case of “Let the chips fall where they may,” the chips fell snugly into his lap, and thus Brazil beckons.
However, Sonnen didn’t have it all his own way, following his suspension for a failed drug test, he was first pitted against Brian Stann and finally Michael Bisping to assure he kept his date with destiny.
Some of Sonnen’s oral inveigle en route to that second tilt at the title:
Well, for those of you who can't see, this is the championship belt that I took from Anderson Silva. In this country, possession is 9/10 of the law. Finders keepers, losers weepers. If he wants it back, he knows where he can find it.
Anderson Silva ... you absolutely suck!” “Super Bowl weekend ... the biggest rematch in the history of the business. I'm calling you out, Silva. I beat you, you leave the division, you beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.
Sonnen has done the hard work, now all that’s left is to capture the 185-pound crown—a win gives him the keys to Rhetoric City—however, a loss could be prove detrimental to the Sonnen hype train and his pertinence in MMA.
The outcome of this fight hangs in the balance with regards to Sonnen jumping the shark.
1. Sonnen Is Entertainment Personified
In comparison to the Sonnen supporters, the dissenters are in the minority. Albeit, those of the Oregon persuasion mostly hang off his every word. They do so, not because they’re gullible, but due to the fact he reeks of entertainment, and dare it be said, pokes fun at himself.
His latest quip regarding Thiago Silva’s submission loss to Martin Kampmann is one example.
There is nobody else more surprised that (Alves) tapped out, more than Martin Kampmann. I think Martin will tell you himself, he didn't have that choke. You have to be a real boob to get caught at the end of the fight like that.
Now that’s a comment coming from someone who was on the verge of capturing UFC gold, only to succumb to a triangle armbar submission in the dying minutes of the final frame.
The aftermath of the aforementioned event was even more hilarious.
In what parallel universe can you punch a man 300 times, he wraps his legs around your head for eight seconds and they declare him the winner? On the streets of West Linn, Oregon, if you lay on your back with your legs wrapped around a man’s head for eight seconds, that does not make you a winner. That makes…not a winner.
I doubt anyone with a humorous side believed for one minute Sonnen was actually being serious, more so the man who uttered those words.
Digressing for just a second—good or bad, Floyd Mayweather is boxing gold apropos the amount of attention he brings to the sweet science—there are hoards of fans that browse the Internet and other social media for just a glimpse of his latest outlandish comments.
The same appeal applies to Sonnen—“Money May” sells, and so does Uncle Chael.
Putting things into perspective—Sonnen has been linked to a number of infractions, ranging from money laundering, fraud to failing a drugs test.
Even with the aforesaid crimes hanging over his head, the self-proclaimed “American Gangster” is still lauded over.
Has he jumped the shark? Hell no.
That said, as long as the media and especially the fans buy into Sonnen the brand, he will continue to be relevant in MMA. And when they’ve had enough, he’ll be the first to know, and hopefully leave the stage while the ovation is loudest.
Until that time comes, and the echoes for his departure reverberate around City MMA, he’s here to stay and entertain the masses to the best of his Sonnen-esque abilities.
Food for thought:
“You are asking me why there is so much interest in my fighting Michael Bisping, all I can say is this—they always come out in their droves to watch me fight.”
For additional information, follow Nedu Obi on Twitter.