Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Helwani: MMA Isn’t Using Chael Sonnen Properly

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani has suggested that former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen is being massively underused in mixed martial arts.

Sonnen, who competed for gold at both middleweight and light heavyweight inside the Octagon, has been an ever-present on the MMA scene for the best part of two decades. Whilst he made his name playing the “bad guy” on the sport’s biggest stage, Sonnen has traded jibes for analysis since his UFC exit.

As well as appearances at the ESPN desk during pay-per-view events, Sonnen has developed his own platform to offer his takes. To his now-over one million subscribers on YouTube, the 45-year-old offers daily videos covering a wide-range of combat sports topics.

But recently, Sonnen was seen in a new role. Ahead of the boxing match between Anderson Silva and Jake Paul next month, Sonnen hosted a SHOWTIME press tour that promoted the bout.

And Helwani, who knows a thing or two about hosting having had the role for Paul’s first clash with Tyron Woodley last August, believes that Sonnen demonstrated exactly how he should be used in the sport.

Helwani: ‘Sonnen Is Horribly Under-Utilized’

During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani discussed the press tour’s use of Sonnen, who he formerly hosted Ariel & The Bad Guy alongside on ESPN.

After dismissing the notion that Sonnen was chosen to fill in for himself after he was unavailable, the Canadian reporter praised the former WEC and UFC standout, insisting that other promotions should be looking to utilize his skills in the same way.

“A reminder, Chael needs to be doing this for a living,” Helwani said. “Like, PFL, Bellator, ONE Championship; any MMA promotion on the planet, why aren’t you in business with Chael Sonnen? Why isn’t he hosting all your events? Why isn’t he promoting all your events? Why isn’t he out there doing interviews on your behalf?

“He is so good. He is so entertaining. He’s fun and quirky — that back and forth with Anderson Silva about the barbecue, the comedic timing was fantastic. He’s actually good at hyping things up. He’s always been good at that. He’s always been the best,” Helwani added. “Horribly under-utilized and someone needs to hire him ASAP.”

With that said, Helwani praised SHOWTIME for selecting Sonnen as the host, especially given his history with Silva, who “The American Gangster” shared the Octagon with on two occasions.

Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva
Image Credit: SHOWTIME

Given his display this month, Sonnen will likely be getting some more enquiries for future events. And with ONE Championship continuing its expansion into the North American market, including possible events on US soil in 2023, perhaps the Asian organization will be interested in Sonnen’s availability.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani?

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