Chael Sonnen made his mark in the sport of mixed martial arts, but now he’s stepping away from competition.
Last night (June 14), Sonnen took on Lyoto Machida in the co-main event of Bellator 222. Sonnen ate a flying knee in the first round, but somehow survived and made it to the second stanza. Unfortunately for “The American Gangster,” a jumping knee from Machida followed by ground-and-pound ended his night.
Chael Sonnen Speaks On Retiring
After the fight, Sonnen took off his gloves and announced his retirement in front of those in attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City and those watching around the world. During the post-fight press conference, which MMA News attended, Sonnen explained his decision to retire (via MMAJunkie.com):
“No, I didn’t have that planned. I thought I was going to win this fight and call out Ryan Bader. Everything was going my way until it wasn’t. But no, I don’t regret it. It was a No. 1 contender’s match, and I thought it was a big opportunity, and it was. It’s somebody else’s turn.
“You’ve got to be tough in this sport. I feel like I used all of my toughness up. There was some positions in there that, before in my career, I would have walked right through them. I did mind losing to him in his spots – you know, some of the stuff on our feet and those jumping knees and whatnot. But I did mind losing to him in my spots. He was on top of me, and I didn’t think he’d be on top of me.
“I thought I could have scrambled. I thought I could have gotten up. I used to be tougher. I used to want it more. I used to have more grit, and I just felt like maybe I fired my last bullet. I didn’t have that same grit, and it’s time to move on.”