Jim Ross: Chael Sonnen Is ' Very Brilliant in How He Verbally Markets Fights'

John HeinisSenior Analyst IMay 16, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 22:  Mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen attends the UFC 170 event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on February 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former WWE color commentator Jim Ross is a big fan of mixed martial arts, so he's usually a good person to ask about the similarities between the two forms of sports entertainment. 

"Good ole' JR" explained why he thinks an over-the-top personality like three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen is good for the sport in an interview with Karim Zidan of Bloody Elbow

He [Sonnen] has been very brilliant in how he verbally markets fights and creates a strong desire to watch him fight.  In the [first] Anderson Silva, he had clearly won every round, and he had me cheering for him. I believe that based on what he was saying that he had a great confidence and a chance to do the unthinkable, which was to beat the mighty Silva for the title. At that time Silva was next to bulletproof, so I bought into Chael's tactics for selling this fight. You come to the arena and you hear the Brazilian chants from the Brazilian fans that are there and the Americans, and non-Brazilians largely, are cheering for Chael, even though he is a lightning rod.

Ross retired from WWE commentating back in September and expressed an interest in calling cage fights, but that is something that is yet to come to fruition. 

Sonnen's first title shot under the UFC banner came at UFC 117 in August 2010 after three consecutive convincing wins inside the Octagon. 

"The American Gangster" unveiled a pro wrestling-style persona leading up to the showdown with Anderson Silva and looked like he was able to back up his claims as he controlled the champ on the ground and even dropped him with a punch early in the fight. 

Although he made the legendary Silva, who entered the title fight on a 12-bout win streak, look human, Sonnen succumbed to a Hail Mary triangle choke with just over two minutes remaining on the clock. 

"Uncle Chael" worked his way to a rematch at UFC 148, though once again he ended up being finished (this time via strikes) after controlling the action again in the opening frame. 

Sonnen is currently coaching Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil opposite longtime rival Wanderlei Silva, whom he is finally scheduled to meet inside the cage at UFC 175 on July 5. 

The Team Reign Training Center fighter is an admitted fan of pro wrestling, drawing from former colorful characters like "Superstar" Billy Graham in post-fight interviews

Is Ross accurate in stating that big personalities help draw fans into MMA, or is that a style that is only effective in the pro wrestling world? 


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com