Chael Sonnen fought and lost to Tito Ortiz in the main event of Bellator 170 on Saturday night. He previous fight was a first round TKO loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167 on November 16, 2013.
At the post-fight press conference, he explained that he’s in it for the long haul.
“Look, tonight is helpful for me,” said Sonnen, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “I’ve been out for three years, and this was a long-term play for me. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I need to get those minutes in. I thought I did it in the practice room, and I had some deer in the headlights out there.
“After three years, it’s just the way that it goes. So I’ll be in the practice room on Monday, and I’ll use it to get better.”
“I wanted to get out there and get the experience. I fully expected to win this. I had great coaches and a great camp, and I got caught in a position that I couldn’t get out of.
“I thought that a guillotine would be a good option. I worked on it a lot. Tito’s also had his neck bother him. He talked about that, I thought maybe that was a good opportunity, but I couldn’t get my leg on the right side. I had my hand where I wanted it, it just didn’t work out and he reversed it.
“I would say the first four or five months of retirement, I wasn’t [training]. I really thought, you know, I think I’m done, I think my race is ran. And I changed my mind, but that was a long time ago. I’ve had years; years and years. But the speed is different. The speed is different when you’re sparring as opposed to going live. And that’s just a reality. I knew I needed to get some minutes in. I thought I was going to have good minutes tonight. I thought I could beat Tito. I thought I had good positions on him and he had a good position on me, and I accept the result. It was a fair contest.”
Sonnen has a six-fight contract with Bellator MMA, and aims for a high-profile fight with Wanderlei Silva. It was supposed to happen in the UFC, but was derailed when both fighters had anti-doping issues. However, Sonnen wanted to give Ortiz his due moment in the sun, before he drives off into the sunset in his Rolls.
“I don’t want to use this as a platform to get something going with Wanderlei,” said Sonnen. “This is Tito’s night. It’s his birthday and he retired, and he won fair and square. I was completely ready for the contest. I had great coaches, great training, and I don’t think I was too small. Tito thought I was too small for him, I don’t think I was too small. I think that he got a position, I think he won the position. As far as Wanderlei goes, yeah, I’m going to fight Wanderlei the next time I see Wanderlei. But again, I’m the loser tonight. I’m not here to promote anything, man. This is Tito’s night and it’s tough.
“Coming to a press conference when you lose is tough, but it’s protocol. And we all follow different codes. And I will say whatever I want before a fight, but by God, I will walk out there and answer for it. And if it doesn’t go my way, I will show up at the press conference and hang my head as well. But this is Tito’s night.”