Chael Sonnen has one simple request for UFC matchmakers: Cancel the scheduled title eliminator between Robert Whittaker and Dricus du Plessis as soon as possible.
Whittaker and du Plessis meet to determine the next challenger for UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya on July 8 at UFC 290. However, Adesanya is already up 2-0 in his series against Whittaker, and has made it abundantly clear that he wants to teach du Plessis a lesson next. Just this past week, “The Last Stylebender” tore into the South African contender in an extended rant on his YouTube channel, continuing an ugly beef that began after du Plessis questioned whether Adesanya was a true African champion.
And Sonnen just can’t see the logic behind the UFC potentially throwing away an Adesanya grudge match to book Whittaker vs. du Plessis instead.
“Is it too late to scratch it? Is it too late? Why are we doing this fight?” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel.
“It’s not too late. We shouldn’t have made du Plessis vs. Whittaker, should have we, guys? We should’ve made du Plessis vs. Adesanya, shouldn’t have we, guys? I mean, Izzy says, ‘I’m not going to fight anybody else until I fight him.’ Izzy doesn’t care if [du Plessis] doesn’t beat Whittaker. Are you aware of that? It’s very important that you understand this. When Izzy says, ‘I won’t fight anybody until I fight him,’ that was not Izzy coming out and saying, ‘I predict that he beats Whittaker.’ As a matter of fact, Izzy predicts that Whittaker is going to beat Du Plessis. Izzy doesn’t care if [du Plessis] is coming off a loss. He doesn’t care if he’s coming off a knockout humiliating defeat — he’s going to fight him next, according to Izzy.
“The inmates can’t run the asylum; believe me, I understand all of these things,” Sonnen continued. “But when you have a guy with that much good will, who has done everything that he’s said he was going to do, and he is now saying, ‘I am not getting in there unless it’s against him — oh, and by the way, next,’ I would understand why you can’t give into that. Believe me, I would. But you also have relationships with certain guys where you trust them and they’re done a great job. It’s not like he’s calling for an easy fight.”
Whittaker is widely considered to be the second-best talent in the middleweight division and is already a sizeable favorite to defeat du Plessis at UFC 290.
If that happens, the UFC has already guaranteed that Adesanya vs. Whittaker 3 is next.
Du Plessis, on the other hand, is a fresh name who’s ridden a perfect 5-0 start in the UFC to the brink of title contention. There’s also extreme heat between him and the champ.
Considering the alternative if Whittaker wins, Sonnen thinks the UFC’s plan is a terrible idea.
“Now we have an opportunity to just pull this fight. What are we doing?” Sonnen said.
“I’m going to have to [promote this fight] because [Whittaker and du Plessis are] not. I’m going to have to convince you to watch it. I’m going to have to tell you when and where it is, because you don’t know. If it was a Chael Sonnen fight and it got announced three weeks ago, you would know who, what, when, why, where. You would have it tattooed in your brain, because I would’ve told you so many times by now. I would’ve found a way to brainwash you. I would’ve found a way into your orbit in the last three weeks enough times that you would know what venue we’re fighting in and what the date of that fight was. I am a professional in the business, making a piece on it — I don’t know,” Sonnen continued.
“Du Plessis vs. Adesanya, make that one.”