Chael Sonnen isn’t a fan of Tyson Fury’s recent callout to Francis Ngannou for a special rules boxing match.
As soon as the news about Francis Ngannou’s UFC release went around, some of prizefighting’s major players immediately jumped in. Tyson Fury, for one, wants a special rules boxing match with “The Predator.”
“Let’s kick it up spicy, in a cage, four-ounce gloves under Queensbury [rules], and let’s have a badass referee like ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson. Did I just sell that to the world?” Fury said during an interview in Manchester over the weekend.
If you’re talking to fans who love crossovers involving two big-named fighters, this idea is an easy sell. Chael Sonnen, however, sees it differently.
“I started this whole thing by telling you how disappointing it is to see these boxers as beggars,” Sonnen said through his YouTube channel. “Guys that are thought to fight, to go out and get it on your own, that have physical capabilities that other men can only dream of… but they don’t know how to actually go out and get it on their own. They just don’t know how.
“To watch Tyson Fury beg was surprising. It was surprising. I don’t want to call it disappointing, I’m real close to calling it that. But I don’t want to call it that.”
For Sonnen, Fury’s stipulations make no sense.
“Tyson comes to us with perhaps the dumbest idea in sports history. Perhaps. He knows it is. But if somebody’s willing to write a check, he will, in fact, go through with it. Now, if somebody’s not willing to write the check — of which they obviously haven’t, which is why he’s pitching the idea as opposed to having a promoter pitching it to him…
“He made it ridiculous enough that we can all stand back and laugh at him and go ‘I was just kidding.’ It was just ridiculous enough that nobody had to actually put their name on it. Nobody had to actually stand by it. And that’s weird.”
Sonnen did say he understood Fury’s intentions, which is to entertain fans. But “The Gypsy King’s” rather serious tone in his callout makes it more questionable for him.
“Why are they being serious? That’s another one. It was disappointing to hear Fury talking so stupid, ‘cause he doesn’t generally do that.
“For him to come out so stupid and make Mike Tyson the special guest referee? We’ve all done it, we all recognized this. We’ve all asked the girl out that we’re not really sure is gonna say yes to us, so we put an LOL in the text message. We’ve all done this.
“But to watch a guy in that position that should have the connections should have already done this behind the scenes should’ve been able to come out and make an announcement instead lobby a joke to the world with pieces that simply couldn’t… it was just weird.”
Ngannou and Fury have been in talks about a possible boxing match. The former even wanted it as a clause for his UFC re-signing, which didn’t end up happening. In his absence, the UFC has now set up a vacant heavyweight title fight between former champion Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane. The two will headline UFC 285, which takes place on March 4th.
About the author: Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments. (full bio)