Ryan Bader won the heavyweight tournament and will be facing Cheick Kongo in his first title defense. However, that does not mean he did not hear Chael Sonnen calling him out during Bellator 222 media day. Sonnen has a Lyoto Machida fight to worry about Friday night but he has always been one to plan ahead and Bader responded on social media when he heard he was on Sonnen’s radar.
Beg a 42 yr old mma analyst?? @sonnench knows he can’t sniff a title shot by actually competing and earning one so he runs his mouth to bait me. Well congrats I’m here, IF you happen to get by Machida I’ll gladly gift you the fight and watch you fold up just like your last fight https://t.co/VAOpImKi94
— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) June 13, 2019
Sonnen said Ryan Bader is not a draw for Bellator and said Bader should beg him for a fight so Bader responded, “Beg a 42 MMA analyst? Sonnen knows he can’t sniff a title shot by actually competing and earning one so he runs his mouth to bait me.” While Bader is talking trash back at Sonnen, both men were in the final four of the Heavyweight Grand Prix last year and Bader was the one that beat Fedor Emelianenko to become champion.
Sonnen lost to Emelianenko and while Bader was the one to take out the former Pride FC Heavyweight champion, Sonnen was able to that far and maybe even expose some things in his fight with Emelianenko that Bader might have considered doing. Bader said as much when he addressed the results of Bellator 208 after Sonnen lost.
While the two men may be trying to preemptively line up a future fight Sonnen still has a Machida puzzle he will have to solve Friday night, and Bader has Congo to worry about for his first heavyweight title defense. For Sonnen, Bader may not be a draw or trash talk but holding titles for two divisions should be enough to draw fans regardless of the potential opponent.
Still, in Bellator when Sonnen’s name is attached to one end of the card, he draws viewers.