Chael Sonnen may be taking on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., January 20, 2017) Bellator 192, but another storied veteran – legendary former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell – has “The American Gangster” back in the headlines.
Apparently, Sonnen got into a backstage scuffle with “The Iceman” while doing some promotional work for Bellator 192 on The Rich Eisen Show at ESPN studios, revealing the strange scenario in detail at today’s Bellator 192 open workouts (via MMA Fighting):
“I come into the dressing room and there was Chuck, face-to-face, and it was awkward. And I was doing Eisen and he told me, ‘You got a message for Chuck? He’ll be here tomorrow.’ So I gave him a message to Chuck, thinking he would be there tomorrow. Turned out Chuck was in the back, watching it on a monitor, with my mother.
“So my mom and uncle had to get involved and it was just a big, colossal — I had to go one way and Chuck had to go the other, and it was weird. But I don’t think he’s going to fight again. I didn’t ask him point-blank because we were too busy yelling at one another, but he looked good, I’ll give him that. I mean, it looked like he was in shape, but I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s going to do.”
It may seem Sonnen is building hype up for his next fight with a long-past-prime UFC legend – something that he’s made a brief career with since coming out of retirement and signing with Bellator – as he’ll face “Rampage” this weekend after out-wrestling Wanderlei Silva in their long-awaited grudge match at last June’s Bellator NYC.
And well, he is. It’s not the worst idea he could have in the latter years of his over-the-top career.
Liddell has also teased a return to MMA despite being 48 years old following a concerning streak of knockout losses to end his career, and he feels the popular “Bad Guy” is a perfect opponent to return against. Sonnen said that’s just fine, and he wouldn’t even let his mom get in the way of them fighting if it came to that:
“I’m up for it right now. I’m ready to go. I was ready to fight him yesterday in the green room, would’ve reached right over my mother.”
So while Liddell may or may not come back, he’d clearly be an obvious target for Bellator’s style of signing aging name-brand talent. Hailing from a UFC era where things were much, much different, Sonnen prodded Liddell with the suggestion that “The Iceman” was simply offended by the new “entertainment era” of today:
“See, here’s the thing with Chuck, is, Chuck is a seemingly very nice guy,” Sonnen said. “Everyone I talk to that knows, he’s a seemingly (nice guy), a gentleman. But he came through the competition era. We’re in the entertainment era. And some of those guys, they get offended a little easier, or the table that they helped set — and he did, in fairness — has changed, and they feel like it changes their legacy and they feel left out. And he was just pissed. What am I supposed to do?
“Eff him. Let him be pissed. What do I care about Chuck’s feelings?”