You can count Bellator fighter Chael Sonnen as one mixed martial arts fighter that has no problem with Conor McGregor making his professional boxing debut against 49-0 Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on August 26th.
Sonnen joined The Jim Rome Show Tuesday on CBS Sports Radio and said the two fighters are giving their fan bases what they want and the sports purists are missing the entertainment value this will provide.
“Man, I fully love it. I think that it’s awesome,” Sonnen said. “Take the NBA Championship, I’ll use that as example because it just happened. We did get the game that we wanted, but so many times when you use a competitive architecture and have a bracketed format, the brackets fall apart. Somebody gets upset, somebody gets injured, you don’t always get that big match that you want.
“We threw the rankings out on this one. The power of the pen is what made this fight, but this is the fight that us the fans want. We asked for this fight. Dana White was the last one to come to the table. He resisted it from the jump. He finally said listen, if this is what you guys want I’ll give it to you. I don’t think that it’s a competitive match, but I don’t really care. Sometimes I just want to have some fun and this is going to be fun.”
As for whether or not McGregor could actually beat Mayweather, Sonnen didn’t hesitate to respond.
“No, absolutely not,” Sonnen said. “Look, you got a guy who has never lost at professional boxing. He’s taking on a guy who’s never done professional boxing. You don’t have to put on your Colombo rain jacket to see how this story ends.”
But Sonnen gave a marketing tip to those in charge and a valid point of the responsibility on Mayweather’s shoulders.
“They need to tell from a promotional standpoint is the entire integrity of the sport of boxing is in on the line here,” Sonnen said. “Boxing is really not in a good place, position with participation and recognition around the country. It’s either a real sport or it’s not. They keep telling us it is, some people are even telling us it’s a science, but those same people are now saying that a guy who has never done it has a chance to beat the greatest that we have. That’s the story that’s being told. This fight had better be over and be over quickly or boxing takes a hit. And I am a boxer, that doesn’t come from the MMA guy in me. I am a boxer. I love the sport. I do think it’s real, but that’s what this is about.”
The event that has Sonnen extremely fired up, however, is the 23rd annual Smackoff. The Jim Rome Show’s annual competition to recognize the show’s best caller, an event the fighter has won twice.
“July 28th can’t get here soon enough,” Sonnen said. “I’m coming so hot. I’m prepared for it to be the last time I’m ever invited, and I’m not kidding about that. I came in eight [place] last year, and I’m still pissed off about it, and I came in late, I came in low, because I was too nice, and I will not make that mistake again.
The 40-year-old is still rattled by his 2016 Smackoff approach.
“I’m not leaving anything on the table, I made a huge mistake last time. I tried to tell a story. I tried to get creative. I got destroyed,” Sonnen said. “I’ve never disagreed with losing the Smackoff. I really feel the winner, the right winner, gets crowned every year. It wasn’t me, but it wasn’t me because I had the wrong plan. I can’t believe I went that route. I will not do it again, I’m coming hot right out of the game.”
Sonnen even credited 3-time winner Brad in Corona on a blueprint on how to win the event.
“It is the basics. It is a simple telephone with a good reception and good strong call. That’s what’s going to win,” Sonnen said. “I love the shtick. I love where the Smackoff has gone. I can just tell you, for me, I’m coming back to the basics and I’m coming hot.”
This Saturday night in New York City, Chael Sonnen headlines Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva.