UFC 136 Results: Chael Sonnen's Dark Past Won't Affect His Bright Future
Chael Sonnen has never been a sympathetic figure, either as an athlete or a human being. But at UFC 136 against Brian Stann, the controversial fighter not only made himself a superstar but proved that his problems outside the octagon have no bearing on what he does when the cage doors are locked.
In case you forgot, let's do a quick refresher of everything that has happened to Sonnen from the time of his fight against Anderson Silva in August 2010 up until Saturday night.
After nearly pulling off the biggest upset in the history of UFC against Silva, Sonnen tested positive for steroids thanks to elevated levels of testosterone and was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for one year.
Sonnen appealed the decision, and his suspension was reduced to six months. But things continued to spiral out of control for him as he was put on trial for money laundering. He pleaded guilty and received two years probation.
After his conviction, the CSAC suspended him indefinitely. He appealed the decision, but the trial did more harm than good because of factual errors and inaccuracies in his testimony.
The whole fiasco took the shine off Sonnen, and the fact that UFC went around the rules to put him on a fight card in Texas - where the Athletic Commission ignores the rules of other states and does what it wants - did not help matters.
Then, as the world was ready to hate him for all his transgressions, Sonnen put on the best performance - in the octagon and on the microphone - of his career.
Stann was one of the fastest-rising stars in UFC, and would likely have earned a middleweight title shot with a victory, but Sonnen just outclassed him in every way.
The finish saw Sonnen slam Stann to the ground, take side control and lock in an arm triangle choke for the submission in the second round.
After the match, Sonnen laid down the challenge to end all challenges to Anderson Silva.
“Super Bowl, weekend, the biggest weekend but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”
All is not forgotten or forgiven with Sonnen, nor should it be. But you can't change what has happened, you can only learn from it and improve for the future.
Judging by his performance on Saturday night, Sonnen is back and better than ever.
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