Chael Sonnen: Years from Now, Will He Even Be Remembered?
When the curtain finally closes on his career, Chael Sonnen may one day lament the fact that he has nothing to show for years of trash talk and several appearances in marquee fights.
Sonnen certainly isn't all talk. His work ethic is second to none, and he is easily one of the top middleweights in the world.
When it comes to public relations, there are none better than Sonnen, who has the unique ability to sell out major venues merely by opening his mouth.
Still, legends are remembered more for what they did inside the Octagon, not outside.
Wins and losses are everything in MMA. Years from now, new faces to the sport aren't going to remember Sonnen's Twitter jokes or insults hurled at iconic figures. He will strictly be remembered by his résumé.
Whom did he beat? To whom did he lose? Was he ever a world champion?
With a 6-5 record in the UFC, Sonnen's biggest career wins have come over Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami and Michael Bisping. He has never won a major world title in his professional career. Is this considered Hall of Fame worthy?
Will Sonnen even be remembered?
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones doesn't seem to think so. In an interview with Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour," Jones said Sonnen is nothing more than a "punk" and a "thug":
The guy is a straight punk that uses his mouth. He won't be remembered in history, because he loses. People that are remembered in history are winners, not people with big mouths. There won't be quotes about him when he's older. There will just be silliness.
Anderson Silva's manager, Ed Soares, thinks Sonnen is a good person at heart, but he believes the self-proclaimed "Oregon Gangster's" mouth is the main reason for his sudden boost in fame and notoriety.
"I'll say it now, and I've said it before: No one ever paid attention to Chael Sonnen. No one ever paid attention to him," Soares told Sherdog Radio.
The only time people started paying attention to him was when he started talking about Anderson [Silva]. Once he struck that nerve and saw that it worked, I think he just took it to another level.
It's unfair to judge Sonnen at this stage in his career. At 35 years old, he remains a significant threat in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. There will be other opportunities for him to finally snag that marquee win that puts him over the top.
With that said, both Jones and Soares make great points. Sonnen's outrageous claims and clever punch lines won't captivate audiences forever. Eventually, he's going to have to live up to his self-generated hype.
People are enthralled by hype, but at the end of the day, this is the fight business. Outside of poking fun at Silva, what has Sonnen done in his career that truly stands out as a defining moment?
If anything, Sonnen will likely be remembered as the man who almost defeated Anderson Silva.
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