Last night (Fri. June 14, 2019) one of the legends of mixed martial arts (MMA) decided to retire from the sport.
Multi-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen announced he is done fighting after his TKO loss to Lyoto Machida in the co-main event of Bellator 222. The festivities took place from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Following his loss to Machida, Sonnen laid his gloves down in the cage and announced he is walking away from the sport.
Speaking at the post-Bellator 222 press conference, Sonnen explained his decision to walk away after having been fighting professionally since 1997. “The Bad Guy” explained that he actually hadn’t pre-planned this before the fight. He fully expected to win before calling out Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Ryan Bader:
“No, that was – no, I didn’t have that planned,” Sonnen said. “I thought I was going to win this fight, I was going to call out Ryan Bader, everything was going my way, until it wasn’t. But I don’t regret it, it was a No. 1-contenders match, I thought it was a big opportunity, and it was. And, it’s somebody else’s turn.”
As for why he made the decision to walk away now, Sonnen said he thinks he has used up all his toughness. He also allowed Machida to get the better of him in several positions where he usually excels, positions he’d typically “walk through”:
“Well, you gotta be tough,” Sonnen said. “You gotta be tough in this sport, and I feel like I used all my toughness up. There was some positions in there that, before in my career, I’d walk right through them – and I didn’t mind losing to him in his spots, like some of the stuff on our feet, those jumping knees, and whatnot, but I did mind losing to him in my spots.
“He was on top of me, I didn’t think he’d be on top of me, I thought I could’ve scrambled, I could’ve got up. I used to be tougher, I used to want it more, I used to have grit, and I just felt like I fired my last bullet. I didn’t have that same grit, and it’s time to move on.”
Check out the full Bellator 222 post-fight press conference here below: