Chael Sonnen, a former UFC Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title contender and longtime MMA studio and on-site analyst, has signed a new multi-year extension with ESPN. Per his new agreement, Sonnen will continue to cover UFC fight weekends and, along with MMA Insider Ariel Helwani, continue to co-host the ESPN+ exclusive series Ariel & the Bad Guy.
“To quote the late, great, Glenn Frey ‘So much has happened; but nothing has changed.’ After so many wonderful experiences, I’m glad to say I am STILL with the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN. Just re-signed. Here’s to the future with ESPN,” said Sonnen.
“We are thrilled that Chael will be with us for years to come,” said Glenn Jacobs, ESPN Vice President of Production. “Even as an analyst, he still has the biggest arm and the greatest charm. Without doubt, Chael remains undefeated and undisputed and helps make ESPN the place to be for UFC fans.”
Sonnen joined ESPN in 2015 as an analyst, providing expert pre- and post-fight insight on SportsCenter’s coverage of major UFC pay-per-view events. When ESPN acquired exclusive rights to all UFC events in the United States beginning January 2019, Sonnen’s duties expanded to include contribution around all UFC PPV events and major news stories, and also includes cohosting, as “The Bad Guy,” A&BG. A fan favorite with the dynamic between Sonnen and Helwani at its heart, the weekly program breaks down the MMA weekend and looks ahead to the biggest cards.
Sonnen — who fought for the UFC world title three times at two different weight classes, against former UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva (twice) and UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones — retired with a professional MMA record of 30-17-1. He made his ESPN commentator debut in November 2014 prior to UFC 180, appearing throughout the weekend on SportsCenter.
He has served as a UFC analyst for FOX Sports and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen,” which aired on FX, and “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil: Team Wanderlei vs. Team Sonnen.” TUF archives are available on ESPN+. The platform will also be the exclusive home of TUF 29 set to debut June 1.
Sonnen, an Oregon native, attended the University of Oregon, where he was an NCAA All-American wrestler.