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Morning Report: Chael Sonnen believes Floyd Mayweather ‘has brought down his brand’ with Rizin fiasco

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Chael Sonnen speaks at a Bellator 170 media day. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Last week, Floyd Mayweather shocked the world when he announced he would be coming out of retirement to face off against 20-year-old phenom Tenshin Nasukawa in a special rules bout at Rizin’s New Year’s Eve show. The speculation about what those “special rules” might be didn’t last long though as just a few days later, Mayweather shot down the fight, saying the he was mislead to believe it would be a small, private exhibition match and that he never agreed to any kind of official bout. Of course now, speculation is running rampant about whether Mayweather was duped or whether he thought better of taking on Nasukawa upon actually seeing him fight. Either way, it’s a bad look for “Money” Mayweather, at least, so says MMA analyst and fighter Chael Sonnen.

“Huge miss here by Floyd Mayweather,” Sonnen said on the ESPN+ show he hosts with Ariel Helwani, Ariel and the Bad Guy. “He has brought down his brand. Very normal trajectory of a fighter’s career: you start out fighting at the YMCA, you move on to the dog park, you get into a coliseum, on your way out you go back to the YMCA, and then you finish up at the dog park. That is what this appeared to be for Floyd from jump street.”

Mayweather’s “Money” moniker is more than mere marketing. He is the most lucrative fighter of all time, taking part in several of the top-grossing pay-per-view fights in history. He was last seen competing against Conor McGregor in “The Money Fight,” a crossover event that sold over 4 million PPV buys and earned Mayweather a reported $300M. However, Sonnen says that those numbers were grossly inflated and because of that - and his lavish spending habits - Mayweather needed to fight again to make money. That’s how all of this came about and now Floyd has egg on his face.

“The only thing more embellished than Floyd Mayweather’s pay-per-view buys is Floyd Mayweather’s net worth,” said Sonnen. “But his spending habits are real. We know he has to fight again but the fact that he would go and offer his services in a stunt fight over in Japan under “yet to be specified rules,” this is very bad for the brand. And for him to try to unwind that and the come back to America. Look, it’s tough and Floyd stubbed his toe on this one.”

One of the reasons the Rizin announcement was so shocking is that Mayweather’s name has been attached to a lot of fights recently. “Money” and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov have been chirping at one another about having a “guys-who-beat-Conor” superfight, and rumors about a rematch with Manny Pacquiao have been steadily gaining steam all year long. In fact, many thought the Nasukawa fight was to serve as a tune-up bout to get ready for Pacquiao. At least, Sonnen says, it should have been used like that because after his last performance, no one is clamoring for Mayweather to unretire.

“It was a tremendous mistake,” Sonnen said. “The retirement just so you can use that to market the comeback. You can never have the comeback if you don’t have the retirement. Floyd knows this, Floyd tries to copy this, but Ariel, the one miss that he had, the ingredient that has to be there if you’re going to pull a stunt like this . . . it has to be at a time when people all come out saying, ‘Why?! Why would you retire? You’re so good! You have more left!’ When you retire at a time when people are looking at you going, ‘You should retire,’ you can’t get that feel, you can’t get that buzz back.

“This is what happened to Floyd. When Floyd went in there and boxed Conor, what was happening was the greatest of a generation took on an amateur, and when it took 30 minutes to get the amateur out of there, it was easier for the boxing world to go, ‘well yeah, but he was retired anyway.’”


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The MMA Beat.

Old man Cormier.

Aren’t we all, Cowboy.

This dude fights this weekend.

Jones-Gus II fan promo.


Bushido Talk. Discussing Mayweather, ONE Championship, and UFC 230.

The MMA Vivisection. Breaking down all the fights for UFC Denver.





The other side of Conor.

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A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Justifiably mad.




Shotgun method.


Knife fighting.



Anderson dos Santos (20-6) vs. Nad Narimani (11-2); UFC Buenos Aires, Nov. 17.

Antonina Shevchenko (6-0) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (8-1-2); TUF 28 finale, Nov. 30.

T.J. Dillashaw (16-3) vs. Hendry Cejudo (13-2); UFC 233, Jan. 26.


2003: Pride FC held one of their greatest events, Pride Final Conflict 2003. That night, Wanderlei Silva won the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, winning a unanimous decision over Hidehiko Yoshida and then stopping Quinton Jackson with knees in the final who had stopped Chuck Liddell with strikes to advance to the finals. Also that evening, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira submitted Mirko Cro Cop with an armbar.

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UFC Denver is a sneaky good card. Hope y’all enjoy it.

Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday!



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