The war of words between Bellator MMA star Chael Sonnen and former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell continue.
If you recall, earlier this year, rumors began circulating about the possible return to MMA of the UFC Hall of Famer. However, the former UFC champion has mostly denied those rumors, but he has clarified that a return to fighting isn’t out of the question. It all comes down to money and the opponent. The most talked about fight for Liddell would Sonnen. Liddell considers Sonnen “an easy matchup.”
Sonnen responded to Liddell’s comments about him on the most recent episode of his You’re Welcome podcast (h/t MMA Fighting).
“I got called out on TMZ – I don’t know if it’s a call out, but I’m using that term – by Chuck Liddell. He said, ‘Chael Sonnen would be a perfect warm-up fight’ for his comeback. TMZ got ahold of me to respond. I never miss big media opportunities and TMZ is huge but this one I just sat it out. First time ever I’ve told TMZ I’m gonna pass on the interview because I didn’t know what to say and I still don’t, other than the truth: I will fight you right now Chuck. This was my idea. I’m the one that suggested you come in on my legends ass-whipping tour and be my crowning moment. That’s the truth. Chuck does not have a contract with any organization. Bellator would sign him and would make that fight and did sit down with him and told him that but he didn’t sign. Instead, he went back to TMZ and pretended he wanted the fight.
“No problem if he’s using that as a negotiation tool. That is part of how the game is played, and if enough people wanted to see it, it would be an effective tool. That’s kind of your measuring stick. When he can get publicity like TMZ, that’s a good sign for him, but the bottom line is, he doesn’t have a contract. They offered him the fight, and in fact, they offered it to him twice, in person. . . He didn’t take it.”
Liddell has not fought since June of 2010 and is now 47 years old. He decided to retire after losing five of his last six bouts, four of them by vicious knockout. Ironically, Sonnen returned to MMA earlier this year after almost four years of retirement, which has led to him going 1-1 in his return. He fought Tito Ortiz and Wanderlei Silva.
“I just won a super-fight over the weekend against a three-time world champion meanwhile Chuck is walking around Beverly Hills with a haircut that looks like he lost a bet. What am I supposed to say? I can’t say yes any clearer. I don’t know how to speak any clearer than I am to you right now. I will fight Chuck right now. I will fight him next Saturday, the Saturday after that, the month after that, he can pick the day, he can pick the weight class, he can pick the rules, purse, anything. He’s said some stuff about ‘Chael just wants a big payday.’ My contract’s set. I’m getting a big payday either way…
“Chuck, the answer is yes. You’re the one that said no, you’re the one that said no a second time, you’re the one that’s pretending you want the fight. I’m fine with all of it, but I don’t know what his endgame is. It’s not like he’s got sponsors, so he’s trying to keep them out there. Who’s gonna sponsor him, some rehab clinic? It’s Chuck Liddell. This isn’t 1994 when the guy had a little bit of glory to his name.”
At the end of the day, Sonnen made it very clear that he doesn’t believe he and Liddell will ever fight. The reason for Sonnen’s belief is due to the fact that he believes Liddell will actually return but that if he wanted to a fight with “The American Gangster” that would’ve already been set up by Bellator President Scott Coker.
“At the same time that [Chuck] didn’t say yes, he’s still in the gym training, so I still believe there’s gonna be this Chuck comeback, I just don’t know where it’s gonna be. If it’s gonna be against me, it has to be in Bellator.
“The likely suspects for me: throw Fedor in there, throw Chuck in there, that’s the one I thought it was gonna be. I would like to fight Chuck, but the air has been taken out of my ball on that. I don’t believe that is going to happen. Then you’ve got Tito in there. Let’s just see what happens. It would be a lot shorter of a list if I told you who I didn’t want to fight.”