UFC light heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen is hanging up the gloves following 17 years of MMA fighting, according to a June 11 report from Yahoo! Sports. Sonnen, 37, fought some of the best in the world during his half-decade of service to the UFC, including Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua. The Oregon native is perhaps best-known for his two middleweight championship fights against Brazilian legend Anderson Silva.
Sonnen was a beloved figure amongst UFC fans because his personality was as good as his fighting skills. UFC President Dana White said Sonnen was the best trash-talker since Muhammad Ali, and his natural ability to hype fights helped him earn perhaps more title shots than he deserved. Sonnen always had a knack for selling fights and hyping rivalries, so the UFC always tried to give him a little extra push.
Unfortunately, his career was marred by a failed drug test that knocked him out of his scheduled UFC 175 bout against Vitor Belfort. Sonnen's rollercoaster ride in the UFC also included losses to Demian Maia, Jones, Evans and Silva twice. Sonnen essentially was a gatekeeper by the time he retired, beating the names he was supposed to beat while losing to some of the top contenders in the middleweight and light heavyweights divisions.
UFC fans shouldn't shed any tears for Sonnen, as he'll be just fine in retirement. He has a cushy job as a UFC analyst for FOX Sports, and he banked enough money during his MMA career that he likely doesn't need to worry about being short on cash any time in the near future. Sonnen's talent on the mic could also land him future gigs in Hollywood as an actor, if that's what he wants to do. Another possible career path is politics, since he's such a talented public speaker.
Where will Sonnen end up? In all likelihood, he'll remain with the UFC as an analyst. FOX apparently loves him, and he seems to enjoy them right back. That said, chances are he's not going anywhere. One career path that could be a dark horse candidate for Sonnen is in food service, as opportunities abound in the fast-casual restaurant business. Sonnen would likely thrive at a company such as Applebees, where employees have the freedom to be themselves.