Former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen is signing with Bellator MMA.
The Associated Press reported late Thursday night that Sonnen has signed a multi-year, multi-fight contract with the promotion. The 39-year-old was suspended two years ago for a failed drug test.
Sonnen told the AP about his return: “I’m a heel. Heels lie” when asked about why he retired in the first place.
The Rulers Back.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) September 16, 2016
Bellator sent out a press release confirming the signing and announcing a conference all on Friday with Sonnen and Coker at noon PT:
Bellator MMA is elated to announce the signing of Chael Sonnen (28-14-1), to an exclusive multi-year, multi-fight contract.
By signing with the Scott Coker-led promotion, Sonnen effectively ends his retirement from professional mixed martial arts and he will now enter the 205-pound division championed by Liam McGeary, amongst others.
“I’m consistently blown away by the product and presentation that Bellator is bringing to the fans,” said Sonnen. “I’m not nearly done competing and I’m coming after everyone, everywhere. I’m not sticking to one weight class either, I fight at ‘Gangster Weight’ and nobody is safe.”
Sonnen has spent a vast majority of his 43-fight career with the UFC, a run where he competed against names the likes of Jon Jones, Anderson Silva (2x), Rashad Evans, “Shogun” Rua, Demian Maia, Brian Stann, and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping. In addition to his exploits inside the cage, the West Linn, Ore., native has mastered the art of being in front of the camera, doing major broadcasting work for both ESPN and Fox Sports.
“Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said, “I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were in the process of signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here. He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight. These are all fights that I’d be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these matchups together starting before the end of the year.”