UFC 291 goes down in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, July 29. The fight card features a number of thrilling match-ups inside the cage, including—as the main event—Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2.
The co-main sees former champions Alex Pereira and Jan Blachowicz go at in the light heavyweight division (marking Poatan’s debut at that weight). Beyond those fights there are other big match-ups including names like Tony Ferguson, Kevin Holland and Stephen Thompson.
We’ve known the names of those who would be in the cage for sometime, but now we know who will be around the cage, too — and there is one surprising name among those.
UFC 291 announces broadcast team
Bruce Buffer will of course be there as the Octagon announcer. Megan Olivi will also be on site working as the roving reporter.
When it comes to the desk analysts there is a surprising inclusion.
Sonnen, who challenged Anderson Silva and Jon Jones during his fighting career, has not been part of an official UFC broadcast since UFC 272 in March, 2002.
Chael Sonnen’s absence was controversial
Chael Sonnen left his regular UFC analyst duties after he was accused of attacking multiple people inside the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.
That incident occurred in December 2021 and resulted in Sonnen being charged with five counts of misdemeanor battery. The following January all charges were dropped against Sonnen.
Then, in March, new information lead to Sonnen being charged with one count of felony battery by strangulation, along with 10 other misdemeanor battery charges. Some of those charges related to the accusation that Sonnen had struck a woman.
Sonnen’s charges were then reduced to six misedemeanors. Sonnen was due to go on trial over these charges. However, two weeks ago he reached a plea deal which saw him plead no contest to one charge of “breaching the peace”. That resulted in Sonnen having to pay a $750 fine.
Sonnen remains a defendant in a civil case stemming from this incident.
Sonnen’s analyst chops were missed
Despite Sonnen’s recent (and past controversies) The American Gangster remains one of the more interesting talking heads on the MMA scene. And not being on a UFC broadcast team does not seem to have dulled his senses when it comes to unleashing a scorching take or soundbite that folks like us will make hay out of for days.
Sonnen, who was one of very few fighters who didn’t elicit a cringe when he grabbed the mic away from Rogan, first worked as an analyst with ESPN in 2014. Since then he has worked for Global Force Wrestling, World Series of Fighting and Bellator.
Sonnen also produces his own show where he analyzes the news of the day. That’s shared on his personal YouTube channel.
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