Bellator light heavyweight and former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen was supposed to take on three-division EBI Champion Garry Tonon this week at Submission Underground 3, which will be broadcast live on FloGrappling.
No doubt this match would have drawn a huge crowd, as Tonon is one of the most famous names in professional grappling and Sonnen, thanks in part to his self-promotion skills, continues to be one of the biggest draws in MMA.
So why did Mr. Chael P. Sonnen pull out of what could have been one of the biggest grappling matches of his career?
Simple. He just didn’t give Bellator enough notice.
“That’s contractual,” Chael told MMA analyst Luke Thomas. “You have to go in and get permission, and that’s the same with the UFC. That is in the contract, and Bellator just didn’t have time. They were like, ‘hey, listen, we don’t think we’ve got a commission issue here, but we could. All we have to do is simply contact them and find out that we don’t, you didn’t give us any time.’ They’re like, ‘you stepped in on Tuesday, that gives us four working days. We’re just not positive we can get this done.They were as polite and professional as can be. And I got it, I did spring this onto them. It was supposed to be Hector versus Garry. Hector pulled out, he ended up taking a fight with Johny Hendricks. It was just tough. Garry’s a scary guy, it’s hard to get anybody to agree (to face him), particularly on short notice, particularly by the time you give them a plane ticket, fly them out to Oregon. There’s a lot of moving parts, so it was easy for me to just go, alright, I’m in. But Bellator was great about it, and they said, ‘hey, you didn’t quite give us enough time.’”
Luckily for Chael Sonnen’s grappling fans, he has another match scheduled for later this year. The 39-year-old “American Gangster” is set to take on American Top Team’s co-founder and head instructor, Ricardo Liborio at the ADCC Stars Superfight in September.
No news yet as to what Chael’s next step in MMA is.
Submission Underground 3 will be going down live, from the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon, on January 29. It will be headlined by a match between Dillon Danis and AJ Agazarm. Garry Tonon will now be taking on Carlos Antonio Jr.