The coronavirus pandemic has caused the combat sports industry to grind to a halt. Dozens of events have been postponed or canceled outright, and fighters are being deprived of the opportunity to compete. Yet Chael Sonnen believes this pandemic-related shutdown of the industry could be beneficial to fighters if they take proper advantage.
In his eyes, fighters have a golden opportunity to gain some attention with much of the other noise drowned out.
“From an attention-getting standpoint—and we’re in the attention-getting business—this is the time,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “When there is nothing going on right now.
“You’ve got to understand, if you’re competing for headlines in the world of sport and sport is put on hold, it has never been easier to get the headline,” Sonnen continued. “The media and the fans are very hungry right now for some kind of story to be told. For something to look forward to. I’ve noticed a number of guys who have done callouts this week, and I’ve heard every single one of them because there’s very little else going on.”
Sonnen then named a few fighters he believes have successfully taken advantage of this coronavirus-induced lull in the action.
“Colby [Covington] called out [Kamaru] Usman—a fight that should be done again and will be done again at some point—but I’m just saying I heard it. Derrick Lewis called out Francis Ngannou. He said ‘you know what, that first one we did, it never should have gone that way. We owe to each other, we owe it to everybody to just do it one more time.’ By the way, Francis does not necessarily have a dance partner right now. His fight with [Jairzinho] Rozenstruik was one of the ones that was affected [by the pandemic]. I know that was a main event fight that people wanted to see. I happen to think that they’ll probably just re-do that down the line. But Derrick is within his rights to call for him to be put in against Francis. But that’s not really the point either way.
“The point is to go against the grain a little bit,” Sonnen concluded. “I would encourage you to be more like Colby or be more like Derrick just to use a recent example. What you say right now is going to get heard cause there’s not a lot being said. This is a time to stand out.”
What do you think of this advice from Chael Sonnen?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/20/2020.