Chael Sonnen isn’t on board with banning a high school wrestler who sucker punched his opponent after a recent match. The said incident happened at a recent wrestling meet at Oak Park River Forest High School in Chicago between two 14-year-old competitors.
As seen on the clip below, Cooper Corder extended his hand as a customary show of sportsmanship to opponent Hafid Alicea, who lost the match with a 14-2 score. Alicea, who seemingly couldn’t handle the result well, responded to Corder’s handshake offer with a sucker punch instead.
The incident has gone viral, and observers on social media are calling for a lifetime ban on Alicea for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Chael Sonnen disagrees on a lifetime ban
Chael Sonnen, one of the sport’s prominent mouth pieces, has commented on the incident. As a wrestler since the age of nine, the former UFC title contender doesn’t see how banning Alicea would help the situation. But at the same time, he expects the powers that be to cave since in his words, wrestling is a sport “run by wimps.”
“I don’t know that taking him out of the sport is the right thing,” Sonnen said on a video he uploaded on his YouTube channel. “And I don’t know what they’re going to do. I know wrestling faster than anybody will cave to whatever pressure is put on it.
“ If there is a push to ban this kid from wrestling and take his federation card away, believe me, wrestling is the kind of sport that will cower, instead of sticking up and say, ‘Whoa, this is a troublemaker, and the hardest thing that I can do is wrestling practice.’
“I’m not sure if you have a troublemaker that taking him out of the world’s hardest sport is your answer. But, I will assure you, the world’s hardest sport is run by wimps that will cower. Quickly.”
Chael Sonnen says a ban is the ‘easy way out’
For Chael Sonnen, the sport alone could be used as a medium to help teach Alicea an important lesson on sportsmanship and proper behavior. He believes that implementing a bad would be taking the easy way out.
“Instead of wrestling (and) knowing how to use that, getting good vibes from it and turning it into something positive, trust me. If the quickest way out is to cower and ban for life, it’s what they’ll do. But is it the right thing to do? ‘Cause it sure seems like the easy way out to me.”
Being known as ‘the kid who got punched’
As of this posting, both school and local authorities are still investigating the matter and have yet to come up with a decision on how to sanction Alicea. But for Corder’s part, his hope is that the incident does not overshadow what he’s accomplished, so far.
“At these next local, couple of tournaments, I’m going to be known as the kid who got punched,” Corder told CBS News. “But I don’t want that to oversee all of my accomplishments.
“I would love to wrestle at a Division I level and accomplish other things I want to in life, like Olympic gold medals and all of that. But I never want to be seen for being at a high level just because I got the exposure for being punched. I want to be seen for all the work that I do.”
Corder, who is said to have won “more than 500 matches” since the age of four, reportedly suffered a broken nose from the incident.
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