With the best promo ever in mixed martial arts history, Chael Sonnen, a free agent after being unceremoniously dumped by UFC and Fox Sports due to failing a random drug test for human growth hormone (HGH) and EPO, hot on the heels of failing an earlier test for Anastrozole and Clomiphene, some MMA fans immediately speculated that a role in WWE could be in his future.
I for one can't see it happening for a variety of reasons, even though he's got many fans and friends in the business (like CM Punk and Paul Heyman) and would seem to have a natural aptitude for the promotional side of pro wrestling. So let's get to why we are unlikely to ever see Chael Sonnen in a WWE ring:
- WWE already has a much more imposing, legitimate ass kicker in Brock Lesnar. Thus, the gimmick of being the outside scary shoot fighter who can batter the top WWE Superstars to an inch of their lives and snap their arms in two is already taken. Strangely, Sonnen's rep as a fighter who choked in the final round or was smashed in his biggest fights with Anderson Silva and Jon Jones would likely work against him too. Why pay big money for someone who couldn't win either the UFC Middleweight or Light Heavyweight Championship when you already have a former UFC Heavyweight Champion under contract?
- WWE have been burnt in the past by signing former UFC fighters like "The World's Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock and Dan "The Beast" Severn to big money contracts who weren't able to parlay their fame and athletic credentials into becoming top wrestling performers. Moreover, both Shamrock and Severn had years of pro wrestling training and many matches under their belt before entering WWE. Other than a tryout at WCW's Power Plant many years ago, Sonnen has had no training and would be starting completely from scratch at the late age of 37 with a beaten up body from over a decade of fighting. Also, as Quinton Jackson and King Mo proved in TNA, just because someone is good at hyping a fight in an off the cuff fashion, that doesn't mean they'll be any good at cutting a scripted interview in front of a crowd of unruly wrestling fans.
- Chael Sonnen brings with him far too much baggage. He's been convicted of money laundering related to mortgage fraud and will likely be remembered as a drugs cheat who failed numerous drug tests, committed perjury in his initial appeal to get his one year suspension for testing positive for elevated testosterone levels in August 2010 by the California State Athletic Commission reduced, and was the inspiration for many aging or struggling fighters to complain about symptoms of hypogonadism so they could use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) whilst still competing. The drug issue is a can of worms WWE wouldn't want to open.
- Chael Sonnen is not a big enough mainstream star to be given a WrestleMania special attraction role like Mr. T, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump and Floyd Mayweather Jr. before him, especially as his fame peaked a couple of years ago and is now yesterday's news.
- If Chael waits until the heat dies down, then it won't be too long before he gets another job in the MMA industry. Dana White genuinely liked him as a person and Fox Sports raved about him being a natural as a broadcaster and analyst, so it would be very surprising if they didn't offer him a second chance. Apparently, Viacom thought so highly of him that they recently considered him to be the man to replace Bjorn Rebney as Bellator's CEO before offering that position to Scott Coker, so they too would be interested in Sonnen's services once he deals with the controversy surrounding his latest drug test failures. There's also Of Fighting, which seems to be the place where fired UFC stars go that don't want to burn their bridges with Zuffa. So, in time, there will be plenty of opportunities for Sonnen to work in his own area of expertise of MMA, without having to move out of his comfort zone and enter the strange world of WWE.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Am I too pessimistic about the possibility of Chael going to WWE? Would you like to see it happen against the odds? Let us know in the comments section.