Even before Ronda Rousey lost to Holly Holm, Chael Sonnen had already gone on record to say that the former dominant champion was ‘created by the media‘ and made to be much bigger than she actually is. The former title contender elaborated on this on a recent appearance with Submission Radio.
“So here’s the deal with Ronda,” Sonnen stated. “Ronda goes out, she’s in a division that if you wanna be, you know, if you’re a top 15 fighter at any point in your life, that’s a lifetime achievement. You can go and tell your grandkids about that, that your granddad was top 15 in the world. That’s a really exciting thing.”
“In that division, if you wanna be top 15, all you have to do is make the weight class and raise your hand,” Sonnen quipped. “There are not 15 girls on planet earth that are fighting. It’s a really rare thing.”
“So the division, you know, when a division sucks and you’re an analyst and you wanna be respected in the sport, you can’t come out and say a division sucks. It doesn’t sound right, particularly when you talk about women,” he said. “So you have to change your words and say ‘well the division is developing’. So gentlemen, I will say to you now… the division is developing.”
“So when you have a developing division, somebody’s going to take it over. So Ronda took it over. And good for her. But the reality is, that’s what it is, it’s a developing division.”
Sonnen then went on to talk about how a lot of ‘myths’ over the years come from where Rousey currently resides, and takes some shots on a few martial arts icons in the process.
“Now, anybody that is created by the media has one thing in common and that is Los Angles, California. I’ll explain,” Sonnen states. “Bruce lee, who everybody covets as this wonderful fighter. Bruce Lee was a wimp. Bruce Lee couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag.”
“But he lived in Los Angles, California, so he was able to bring people that were in the media: producers, directors, future actors. He took them in their backyard, he kicked their ass, he was a wimp. But he found people who were wimpier than he was and eventually they got to media outlets and TV and movies and they all spread the legend of Bruce Lee. So good for him.”
“You know, there’s a guy named Judo Gene LeBell. I don’t want to tease Gene LeBell. He’s a thousand years old, but Gene LeBell has this huge myth around him that he was some kind of a tough guy,” he said. “Gene LeBell in his prime could not make the varsity wrestling team at my local high school. But he lived in Los Angeles, California, so he’d bring guys into his garage and he’d put them in armbars and chokeholds. And again, Gene LeBell was a wimp but the guys that he beat up were bigger wimps, and they went on to make it in TV and movies and they went and spread the legend.”
“And that’s the way it goes. I mean, you could keep going down the list. Steven Segal, all these myths – Van Damme. All these guys that suck, they all had one thing in common. That was Los Angeles, California,” he said. “So Ronda lived in Los Angeles, California – that’s where she lives right now – so she can get major media outlets and major people that are famous and have a voice, you know, to go out and perpetuate things.”
“Look, she’s a solid, durable fighter, but the truth on Judo, guys, is Judo has never had a level of effectiveness in MMA,” Sonnen said. “There’s never been a Judo champion in the history of the UFC. There’s never been anybody even close. There’s never been somebody that fought for the title that was a Judo practitioner. There was never anybody in an elimination fight that was a Judo practitioner. It’s a terrible, ineffective form of combat, and if you knew the history of Judo you’d lose all your respect for it. I’ll tell you it real quick if you want it, but Judo is very ineffective. So you have Ronda, that’s a really good competitor, but she comes from a sport that’s just not very effective.
Sonnen then spoke about another popular UFC star in Conor McGregor, saying that he used to think the Irishman was ‘created by the media’ as well, but recent performances had him changing his mind.
“Now, you gotta understand, first off, that division is…oh my god, it is so nasty. There are ten Jon Jones’ in that division,” he said. “Don’t forget Frankie, one of the greatest fighters to have ever done it, doesn’t have the belt in that division. That’s how hard that division is. So you have to really put that in perspective. The women’s division – what did we agree to call it? ‘Developing’, earlier?”
“145 pounds is iron on iron. If you’re even in the top five conversation you are a nasty, nasty individual. So no, Conor was not created by the media,” Sonnen said. “He’s in an incredible weight class and he’s got a belt in that weight class. So no, he’s the real deal and he’s better than I thought he was. With what they did with Chad Mendes, the way he was able to weather that storm and push through and take those punches and scramble off the bottom and hold up and land those punches and kicks, man, he’s a very special talent for sure.”
“He is not created by the media. Is he the best fighter in the world? Well I sure don’t think so. I sure don’t. I would certainly think that Jose is gonna, you know, whip him pretty good and I would think that Frankie Edgar would whip him pretty good, and I think there’s some guys at 155 where he’s headed, but that’s not a lot of guys to name, man. I mean that’s a really, really tough division. If you’re anywhere in that top five, six, seven, eight, ten, you’re a good, good fighter. And the girls division… It’s a developing division.”
Listen to the entire interview above where Sonnen speaks more about the upcoming McGregor vs Aldo bout, and Mirko Cro Cop’s failed drug test for HGH.
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