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Chael Sonnen joins ESPN as MMA analyst

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Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

"The American Gangster" will return to TV as a MMA analyst.

Fired from FOX Sports after testing positive for five banned substances in two different random drug tests, Chael Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, has signed with ESPN as the channel’s new MMA analyst, The Associated Press reported Tueday.

Sonnen makes his ESPN debut at Friday’s SportsCenter, breaking down the upcoming UFC 180 pay-per-view card, which takes place Saturday night in Mexico City.

"I love to break down fights," Sonnen told AP. "I love to watch them. The fact that ESPN will allow me to do that on the air in a fancy suit and call it a job, it's what I would be doing at home anyway."

Sonnen said he won’t "shy away" from any topic, including his failed drug tests.

"I wouldn't shy away from a topic, even if it's one that brought me shame," Sonnen said. "There are topics like that, and there are opponents I'm going to have to cover that have also embarrassed themselves, but that's part of the sport, man. I cherish those moments."

"We know Chael has made some mistakes in the past," ESPN senior coordinating producer Glenn Jacobs told AP. "He's been honest. He's been up-front about it. He has paid for the mistakes that he has made, and he's moving forward. ... The insights that he has on the sport and the ways he sees it, our fans are going to be so much better from watching him on the air. They're going to be able to watch the fight and look for totally different things than they would have otherwise."