Sonnen Discusses Bellator 192 & UFC 220
Both UFC 220 and Bellator 192 will be airing on January 20th, both events involving their respective heavyweight titles. At UFC 220 in Boston, Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight title against Francis Ngannou, while Bellator will feature Chael Sonnen taking on Quinton Jackson in a Bellator heavyweight tournament first-round matchup.
Sonnen, 40, is taking the UFC vs. Bellator competition as seriously as he’s taking his inclusion in the heavyweight grand prix.
“I’m competitive,” Sonnen said at a Bellator media lunch Wednesday.
“I want to beat those guys. My ego is directly related to those numbers. I check those numbers, every time. Every interview I do, every podcast I do. I check them. It’s competition. They’re gonna have their show and we’re gonna have our show. They’re gonna fight for our viewers and we’re gonna fight for ours. And that’s it. Live audience and the gate and all the way down, to who sells the most T-shirts at the end of the night.”
The one advantage for Bellator netting a larger audience is UFC 220 being on pay-per-view, and Bellator 192 on The Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV), which allows Bellator to promote to a potential audience that it is for free and cast from a wider net. Yet, Sonnen correctly stated that the UFC’s prelims will be on cable alongside Bellator 192. A few days later, everyone will be able to see those ratings numbers and how the two promotions stacked up.
“We’ll see those things,” Sonnen said.
“And I don’t wish against [the UFC]. I hope they have a great night, but it’s still competition. Only one of us is gonna have a higher number. One of us is gonna have a bigger gate, one of us is gonna have more people in attendance. So good for them. But we’re playing too.”
Sonnen was a member of the UFC roster for seven years, fighting twice for the middleweight title and once for the light heavyweight belt. He was also was a member of the UFC on FOX broadcast team. The Oregon native doesn’t have any hard feelings for the UFC, but he’ll be rooting for the banner he fights under. Sonnen has been with Bellator since January 2017, going 1-1 with a win over Wanderlei Silva and a loss to Tito Ortiz.
Sonnen’s opponent, “Rampage” Jackson has a long history with the UFC himself, coming and going from the promotion multiple times over the last four years. When Jackson first jumped to Bellator from the UFC, in 2014, Jackson said he wanted Bellator to top his company. Jackson went as far to offer his services to fight on Spike cards that went up against UFC PPV shows.
“I was in that mainframe back then, but I kind of got the short end of the stick regardless because of [former Bellator promoter] Bjorn [Rebney], we all know what kind of person he is,” Jackson said.
Now? “Rampage” isn’t too concerned with how Bellator 192 will stack up with UFC 220.
“I’m focusing on winning this tournament,” Jackson said
. “I can’t focus on everything. … I can’t focus on what the UFC has going on. I don’t give a f*ck.”