Chael Sonnen Announces Retirement from MMA: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

Winslow Townson/USA Today

Chael Sonnen has retired from competitive mixed martial arts, per Fox Sports:

As Fox Sports' Marc Raimondi reported, Sonnen's retirement comes fresh of the heels of his positive test for banned substances:

Chael Sonnen's recent failed drug test hasn't just led to him being pulled from UFC 175. It will also mark the end of his MMA career.

Sonnen announced his retirement from competition Wednesday on UFC Tonight, one day after news came out that he had tested positive for banned substances and would likely not be able to fight Vitor Belfort on July 6 in Las Vegas. Sonnen has competed in MMA for 17 years, including the last five with the UFC.

On Fox Sports 1's America's Pregame, Sonnen offered a defense of his failed test.

With his opponent off the card, Belfort has nobody to fight, so he will also miss out as well, per Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole:

Sonnen's fight at UFC 175 likely would have been one of his last in the company anyway. At 37 years old and having lost three of his last four fights, the end was near. The failed drug test merely sped up the inevitable.

Sonnen retires with a 28-14 professional career record, according to Sherdog. Although he never won a title, he was never far from the middleweight and light heavyweight championship pictures.

While Sonnen had an impressive UFC career, most fans will remember him for his bombastic and polarizing personality. His bouts with Jon Jones and Anderson Silva are particularly memorable for the way in which he cut pro wrestling-type promos in order to hype the fight.

Back in April 2013, Deadspin's Tim Marchman went in depth detailing many of the ways Sonnen tried to get under Jones' and Silva's skin. As a result, many fans and critics have less-than-flattering opinions of the fighter, as demonstrated by some harsh words from Sports On Earth's Tomas Rios:

Whatever your opinion of Sonnen, there's no question that UFC watched one of its biggest stars leave the company on Wednesday. He may not have been the most talented fighter, but his charisma ensured that he remained near the top of most of the cards on which he was featured.

Now the question is, who will fill Sonnen's boots as the most loved/hated fighter in UFC?

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