'The Ruler's back'. 39-year-old Chael Sonnen has come out of retirement and signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator.
The UFC reportedly released Sonnen from his contract so he could return to fight action with their chief competitor. Terms of the release or the Bellator deal are yet to emerge. The news was confirmed by MMA Fighting after an initial report by the Associated Press.
The Rulers Back.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) September 16, 2016
Since 2014, Sonnen has served a two-year suspension handed by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing multiple drug tests. His ban for PED use ends as German boxer Felix Sturm faces prison for similar offences in a potential watershed moment for combat sports.
The former UFC light-heavyweight title challenger brings a 29-14-1 record into Bellator, following the compelling Rory MacDonald in making the crossover to the rival organisation in a week where Donegal's Joseph Duffy admitted he may be forced to do the same.
Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said:
Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport. and I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator.
When we were signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here. He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight. These are all fights that I'd be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these match-ups together starting before the end of the year.
MMA Fighting report that a Nov. 19 fight against Tito Ortiz in San Jose has been discussed.