Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Can Chael Sonnen Save the Dying Ultimate Fighter Brand?
By Joshua Molina
All hail, Chael.
The scrappy, trash-talking “American Gangster” has talked his way into a title shot against Light Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones.
Chael Sonnen might also single-handedly save the sagging The Ultimate Fighter from cancellation. Sonnen will coach the show against Jones and the two coaches will fight on April 27, 2013.
The move could turn out to be a business-changing masterstroke for Dana White and the UFC. Sonnen is the best talker and biggest draw in the business. His explosive mouth, backed by his cunning mind, could save the dying Ultimate Fighter franchise.
Jones is one of the least popular stars in the industry and is the perfect straight man to Sonnen’s comedic brilliance.
The show will make excellent television and provide what’s likely to be a monumental free TV buildup to the biggest Pay Per View fight in UFC history.
The fight location hasn’t been announced, but it’s big enough that the UFC might try to book it for Cowboys Stadium, a location that the UfC has targeted for a major show.
Let’s be clear: If the Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones can’t, after three months of television buildup, turn the UFC’s sagging popularity around, nothing will.
And props to Sonnen for somehow turning an embarrassing 2nd round TKO loss to Anderson Silva, probably the best mixed martial artist in the world into a title shot against Jones, probably second best mixed martial artist in the world.
That takes talent.
And by the way, maybe all the Jones-haters back in late August were at least partially right. He should have taken the Sonnen fight, even on eight days’ notice.
Instead, Jones fought Vitor Belfort, who seriously damaged Jones’s elbow, and nearly tapped Jones out. Jones undoubtedly made a lot less money against Belfort than he would gave against Sonnen And now Jones has the “he’s afraid of Sonnen” reputation.
Even if Jones defeats Sonnen, Sonnen is still the winner. When the chips were down, when the UFC needed a major company turnaround, who did the UFC turn to? Chael Sonnen.
That’s because around the UFC they have a name for the biggest ratings and viewership draw. They don’t call him Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos, Georges St. Pierre or even Dana White.
They call him Chael Sonnen. Jon Jones, beat him, if you can.