Instead, “Borz” missed out on the opportunity to share the Octagon with one of the sport’s biggest superstars and to feature in a main event for the first time in his UFC career. The catalyst for those feats being taken away from him was a sizable weight miss, which saw the Chechen-born Swede come in 7.5 pounds over the limit.
While misses tend to see athletes apologize to their opponent and the promotion, the term ‘sorry’ was about as far away from Chimaev’s mouth as it could’ve been. Instead, Chimaev’s conduct saw smirks on the scale, middle fingers to the media and fans at the ceremonial weigh-ins, and a dismissive attitude about the indiscretion.
While that mindset drew widespread criticism from fans, pundits, and fighters alike, one prominent fighter-turned-analyst has supported the way that Chimaev handled his weight miss.
Sonnen: ‘Chimaev Had To Play The Hand He Was Dealt’
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sonnen assessed the new villainous role Chimaev quickly adopted following his fight week controversy, which also included altercations with Paulo Costa and Kevin Holland.
Addressing the consensus anger directed towards “Borz,” Sonnen insisted that it derived from Chimaev’s attitude, rather than his weight miss. With that, the former two-division UFC title challenger questioned what the #3-ranked welterweight was supposed to do.
“I’m seeing people that were irritated with Chimaev… What is it that we’re upset about? That he missed weight? No, that’s not what it is,” Sonnen said. “What had you is that he missed weight and didn’t care. You saw no form of an apology… to the fans for changing the fight, to the promotion for losing a main event, to Nate Diaz… to Kevin Holland… There’s a lot of apologies you could throw around.
“What is it that you wanted him to do? You think you wanted him to apologize… but would you respect him? … Do you want to be liked? Most people will answer yes, but if you ask me that question, liked or respected, I’ll take respected, for sure,” Sonnen added. “So what is it you wanted Chimaev to do? Grovel? Say sorry? Pull himself from the card completely? You want him to do something in the middle?”
Sonnen went on to suggest that any level of ‘groveling’ would have weakened Chimaev’s reputation and lost him respect. With that in mind, “The American Gangster” stated that “Borz” did well to play the hand he was dealt — that is, to embrace being the bad guy.
“(If) he says sorry, (he) weakens himself… Come on, show us who you are. If you’re not sorry, don’t say you’re sorry, and he wasn’t,” Sonnen stated. “I really don’t think that if you look at this objectively, and you had the position of being an advisor to Chimaev… (assessing) what is going to serve him and his brand and his future the best, I don’t think you would be wise to come to him and tell him to begin to grovel.
“You’ve got to play the hand that you’re dealt. Should Chimaev have made weight? Of course Chimaev should have made weight. But if he doesn’t, does he need to be a baby?” Sonnen concluded.
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen’s opinion?