One of the MMA's best talkers, Chael Sonnen's ties with pro wrestling are well-established.
However, as Sonnen explained this week, that relationship could've been far more than just a link. Appearing on ESPN's 'Ariel Helwani's MMA Show,' the former UFC Middleweight Title challenger reflected on his first attempt at entering the professional wrestling world. “I considered doing that," he recalled. "I was a sophomore in college, I actually went out to the WCW, it was called the power plant at the time which was the training. I did a try-out.
"Sarge (Buddy Lee Parker) was there. I was a college All-American Division 1 that year and I made it through, I barely made it through. All you had to do, it was kinda like navy-seal, as soon as you’ve had enough, say you’ve had enough, leave and don’t come back. The very first day, the room was packed. By the end of the first day, there was only three of us left. And of those three, two of us made it to the final day," Sonnen said.
"They worked us so hard, it was so hard. I was an All-American, I’m telling you, I barely made it through this thing. It was so hard." Before Sonnen could take advantage of the interview he'd earned though, WCW went out of business. With that being said, Sonnen admits that he was told that he was too small and would have to be a high flyer, something that didn't interest the future MMA star.
As for the industry's modern alternative, Sonnen was complimentary of All Elite Wrestling's debut showing. “I did watch it . . . I thought it was very good and I also like, you know that’s a star driven business. Much like what Vince is doing with the Saudis right now where he’s just gotta bring in the biggest names. It seemed like everybody that was a free agent in the world made an appearance of some regard."
Nonetheless, Sonnen returns to the cage on Friday, taking on Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222. The event takes place at Madison Square Garden and is headlined by Rory MacDonald's title defense against Neiman Gracie.
For Helwani's full interview with Sonnen, click here.