Chael Sonnen’s retirement from active MMA competition is going to leave a lasting bruise on a promotion that desperately needs starpower. Yet, it’s also the best possible course of action for Sonnen and the UFC.

Anyone who enjoys Sonnen’s antics wants to see him continue to compete despite failing his second drug test. However, that’s not the best idea for Sonnen or the UFC. On one hand, you have Sonnen professing that he was taking the substances because he has to due to his medical conditions. He also claimed that he was taking the substances to help become a father. If he truly needed these banned substances to compete, then it’s probably for the best that Sonnen hangs the gloves up in this post-TRT world. As he said himself, he’s forced to pick between health and sport. As fans, we should always want the fighter to choose what’s better for their long-term health over pleasing the masses in the short term.

So, instead of continuing a career that may have not ended well (just look at his performance against Rashad Evans), Sonnen is going to resign to wearing a three-piece suit behind a UFC on Fox sports desk. And really, that’s the best position for him to be in at this point in his career.

On the other hand, Sonnen’s name is completely tarnished within the MMA world. Yes, he’s a great entertainer and very informative during UFC on Fox broadcasts, but the fact remains that he’s failed two drug tests, faced money-laundering charges and managed to launch a verbal tirade full of insults towards one nation that had the country ready to launch a manhunt. For as many positive comments as fans can make about Sonnen, there are just as many negative ones to make as well. It doesn’t matter if the “Chael P. Sonnen” persona was all for the cameras. For some people, there’s a line not to cross, and Sonnen tiptoed it on a routine basis.

Sonnen is one of the very few fighters who have reached a high level of success in the sport, and he’s also someone who can articulate the sport of MMA to the everyday person. His former career as a politician has served him well, as he’s quickly become one of the favorite analysts for the Fox Sports crew during UFC events. Sure, he’ll make some hyperbolic statements, but he’s still a very fluent talker that can influence the public’s opinion with words. Sound familiar?

Although the UFC will have trouble finding another Sonnen to help generate interest in pay-per-view cards, the promotion’s reputation has already taken a massive hit with its recent PR dealings. Instead of bringing the hammer down on repeat offenders, the UFC somehow managed to skate around the issue of punishing its fighters. If anything, the promotion has been rewarding them—the UFC has tried to keep Sonnen and Belfort on the UFC 175 card for as long as it could, and the fact Stephan Bonnar remains in the UFC Hall of Fame further indicates the promotion doesn’t view performance-enhancing drugs as a major issue.

Keeping Sonnen out of the Octagon will be better for the promotion’s name value in the long run, something that (should) be more valuable than any amount of money Sonnen could draw for the company now. The UFC repeatedly says it doesn’t have a PED problem, but it has had three separate PED scandals in just UFC 175 alone. And that’s before the fighters competing actually take their tests. The “head in the sand” tactics simply aren’t going to work. With Sonnen gone, that’s one less PED problem the UFC has to face in the future.

Sonnen’s antics will be missed. There are very few people that have Sonnen’s ability to make fans tune in regardless of the match-up. However, his retirement is the best situation for everyone involved. Sonnen gets a comfy desk gig that will keep the paychecks rolling and the UFC can move on from one of the major faces of the TRT era.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.