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Chael Sonnen Announces MMA Return; Joins Bellator Roster

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If there’s one thing you can always rely on, it’s Chael Sonnen to keep us on our toes.

Since coming off his lengthy Nevada Athletic Commission suspension in August and calling off his retirement, the MMA community has been hanging on every word of ‘The People’s Champ’ for an announcement of his anticipated return.

Well here it is. Sonnen is back but to Bellator MMA, not the UFC.

Sonnen (29-14-1) confirmed with the Associated Press Thursday night that he signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator for his return, making this the second ex-UFC headliner to cross over to the promotion in 2016. Welterweight and former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald signed over after his loss to now-title contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in June.

Who will the first opponent be for the ‘American Gangster’ under the Bellator banner?’s Ariel Helwani posted on Twitter during Sonnen’s media call Friday regarding the announcement that Sonnen stated former TUF Brazil: 3 rival coach Wanderlei Silva and he will be fighting, and sooner than we may think.

How many other big names from the UFC will be making the jump over to Bellator? As free agency becomes more popular as contracts run out, this could become a growing trend in the MMA scene.

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Kristine is a Managing Editor for as well as UFC/MMA Lead Writer. She also hosts a column known as Fighting Words.
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