Shortly after Rory McDonald signed for Bellator, Chael Sonnen claimed that he there was a story behind why he needed to fight the Canadian welterweight, and on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour, he revealed all to Ariel Helwani.
The former UFC middleweight contender warned that the story was not very elaborate, but assured that because of what transpired, “man code” dictates that they must face each other.
“I can’t create something out of nothing here. There are not a lot of your fans that will get enticed by this. This is simple man code,” began Sonnen.
“I like Rory a lot. I always have. I signed with Bellator in November and Rory signed somewhere around February. I was there first but only by a couple of months.”
The pair shared an exchange in an elevator shortly after MacDonald reached terms with Bellator, when they were in California for Bellator 172.
As Sonnen explained:
“I’m at an event, it was going to be Fedor (versus) Mitrione, and Rory had just signed on Tuesday, and today is Friday.
“So I end up in an elevator with him and he’s eating an apple, which becomes relevant in the story later.
“We’re in the elevator and we’re heading down and I say, ‘Hey, congrats! What are you looking to fight?’
“He says, ‘I don’t know, maybe Paul Daley’. Then he says, ‘Maybe Josh Koscheck’. Then he takes a bite of his apple, and he looks up and goes: ‘Maybe you.’
“Right as he says that, the doors open. I wished him well and that was the end of it, we were on our way.”
Although their conversation did not seem disrespectful by any means, Sonnen claims they must fight because of what happened.
“He knows that we have to fight there is no way around it. We can’t just act like that didn’t happen. It happened,” he said.
“I told you it was a pretty simple story. We can’t really build an event around this, but any guy who’s listening to this knows that I have to fight him. I don’t have a choice.”
Sonnen also suggested that the fight is more likely to happen with both men now signed to fight for Bellator.
“Rory has got a different path. Nothing is really built for speed right now in MMA, but Rory is going to go, as I understand it, for a championship fight with Douglas (Lima). I think that’s done. All they need is a date at this point.
“Rory was talking about going up to 185 and now you insert Mousasi. Maybe Mousasi takes some of my thunder away.
“There are more opportunities with Bellator. Historically, they are more open to shuffling guys around, not making you stay in your division and letting you do what you want.
“I don’t really know who is next for who.”