Chael Sonnen Didn't Actually Have Surgery Before UFC 167 Fight with Rashad Evans

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chael Sonnen (blue gloves) walks towards the cage before his light heavyweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

If you're anything like me, when the story initially broke that Chael Sonnen underwent emergency colon surgery just a day before he fought former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, you immediately wondered "how would he possibly get medically cleared?" Apparently the head honcho of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Keith Kizer, was on that same wavelength. 

Responding to questions from Dead Spin, Kizer said the following:

I checked with the UFC. They verified with Chael and his team that he did not have any surgery prior to the Rashad Evans fight. According to Chael, the interviewer asked him a question and Chael, coyly, didn't answer him directly as the article clearly states, and the interviewer inferred that the answer to his question was in the affirmative.

The story was initially inferred from an interview between Sonnen and TSN Off the Record host Michael Landsberg (you can see the interview at the Dead Spin link above). Landsberg bluntly asked if Sonnen underwent emergency surgery to remove part of his digestive tract immediately before his fight with Evans. Sonnen, stoically, neither confirmed nor denied the story, instead discussing the importance that he places on fulfilling his contractual obligations as a fighter. 

For reference, the best known example of a fighter undergoing emergency surgery to remove part of their colon would be Brock Lesnar, who suffered from the serious illness diverticulitis. The former heavyweight champion's career was largely derailed and likely ended by the disease and the treatment it required. 

Sonnen's response to the question is undeniably odd. While it seems truly impossible for a fighter to go under the knife and onto the scale in just a few hours' time, his seemingly genuine surprise and the lack of his signature grin and joking attitude makes this a story worth discussing.

His performance against Evans was undeniably lackluster, as he was taken down with ease and finished without mounting anything resembling a legitimate offense. Additionally, "The American Gangster" is one of the most outspoken personalities in MMA when it comes to fighters withdrawing from scheduled bouts (he most recently ripped into Antonio Rogerio Nogueira). 

It's possible that he was hampered by some sort of illness ahead of his fight. It's also possible he is trying to add another tale to the already lengthy list of ridiculous stories that have come from his entertaining career.