Chael Sonnen has been competing in MMA since 1997, but it wasn’t until his 2010 middleweight bout with Anderson Silva that ‘The American Gangster’ made a name for himself.
Sonnen, a former three-time UFC title challenger, quickly became known for his theatrical antics and WWE style heel persona in the lead up to his championship epic with ‘The Spider’ at UFC 117.
Sonnen battered Silva for four rounds before succumbing to a triangle armbar submission in the fifth, but that didn’t deter the Oregon-born fighter from abandoning his eccentric ‘bad guy’ image.
Sonnen, who now competes under the Bellator banner, will take on the original bad boy, Tito Ortiz, at Bellator 170.
Ortiz, a UFC Hall of Famer and ex-UFC light heavyweight champion, was notably tense at the pre-fight press conference but the MMA veteran is aware that Sonnen is ‘playing a game’.
Speaking to the media in California, ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ called his opponent an ‘actor’ but warned him that things will get serious when the cage door closes on Jan. 21.
“He is playing a game,” Ortiz said on Wednesday, per MMA Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting. “He’s an actor. He’s playing a game. He knows who’s the better fighter. He knows it deep down. When I’m on top of him and I’m elbowing his face, and I split his face wide open — there’s blood everywhere — he’s gonna quit. He’s gonna give his back. I’m gonna try to hurt him. This is not a game. This is not a wrestling match.”
Ortiz last fought at Bellator 142 in 2015, where he was submitted by England’s Liam McGeary via inverted triangle choke in the first round.
His grudge match with Sonnen will headline Bellator 170, which takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California on January 21.
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