The American Gangster” has a new home.
Former three-time title contender Chael Sonnen has signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA following his exit from the UFC.
The news was first reported by the Associated Press.
Sonnen reached an agreement with the UFC to exit the promotion as a free agent following his retirement from the sport after he tested positive for several banned substances ahead of a scheduled fight with Wanderlei Silva in 2014.
Sonnen was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for two years, but that ban was recently lifted, which made the former middleweight and light heavyweight contender available to return to action.
Sonnen even re-entered the drug testing pool administered by USADA (United States Anti-Doping) Agency, but he reached a deal to orchestrate his UFC release and decided to sign with Bellator instead.
At 39-years of age, Sonnen is one of the most talked about fighters in the world after an epic rivalry with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva put him in the spotlight in 2010.
Sonnen failed to conquer Silva inside the Octagon, but that didn’t harm his popularity as the Oregon native continued to be one of the most watched athletes on the UFC roster.
While he has gone just 1-3 over his past four fights, Sonnen has remained in the spotlight over the last two years while doing commentary and analysis work as well as doing his own podcast titled “You’re Welcome”.
There has been no confirmation on potential opponents for Sonnen’s debut but according to sources, there are several high profile names the veteran competitor would be interested in facing.
UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz currently fights in the promotion as well as another Octagon mainstay in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Perhaps the name at the top of the list will be Wanderlei Silva, who Sonnen was supposed to fight before both of them were suspended before they could ever meet in the UFC.