Last weekend, in the main event of Bellator 170, MMA superstar Chael Sonnen returned to the cage after a hiatus of three years. He did so against retiring UFC Hall-of-Famer Tito Ortiz.
Though Chael Sonnen unleashed plenty of trash talk in advance of this fight, assuring fans it was one that he’d always wanted and one he was determined to win, he ultimately came up short, as he was forced to tap to a first round rear-naked choke. In fact, Sonnen’s loss to Ortiz was so lopsided that many fans questioned the legitimacy of the fight, suggesting that it may have been a fix.
According to Sonnen, however this is not the case. The vanquished star gave his take on the whole ordeal on a recent episode of The Luke Thomas Show.
“It was a choke. It was an oxygen issue, not a pain issue,” Sonnen said. “Didn’t you see it? I got put in a rear-naked choke. And then I got home and people were saying that it didn’t look like it was on. I don’t even know how to respond to that.”
“All I can tell you is I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t respect it when it went on. I thought we were going to get into scramble and I was going to come on top, but I was stuck. It’s really hard to give up your back, ever. You give up your back in the first round before you have that sweat going, man, it’s just a tough spot. And it’s embarrassing, it’s all those different things. But to answer your question head-on, yeah, it was a choke, it was not a crank.”
From there, Sonnen went on to address the surprisingly widespread allegations that he threw his fight with Ortiz.
“I can tell you, if you’re ever in a contest and somebody thinks that you threw it, like some of my fans in this case, like ‘he wasn’t trying’ — no, the hard reality is I got put in a choke,” he said. “I was trying and he squeezed the choke better than I defended it, and as much as I appreciate you guys trying to give me an excuse, man, I’m a guy who hates them.”
“It’s fun to be a good winner, it’s hard to be a good loser, but it’s the process. It’s protocol and procedure, and if you get beat, you’ve got to tap and surrender, man. You’ve got to own it forever. You can’t go back and say, ‘well, I didn’t try.’ So as much as I appreciate supporters offering an excuse for me, there’s not an excuse, man. I got put in a choke and I had to tap.”
What did you think of Chael Sonnen’s lopsided loss to Tito Ortiz? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/27/2017.