Chael Sonnen has a wholly unique ability to talk his way into the biggest fights in mixed martial arts, and when it was announced Monday that Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was injured and out of his UFC 161 bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Sonnen wanted in, via Twitter.
Chael Sonnen @sonnench
Godfather of integrity; dual masters in dominance and modesty; once outboxed Hemingway; & author of this year's bestseller, available NOW on Amazon
@ShogunRua I HEAR BRAZILIAN CHICKEN IS OFF THE MENU. AMERICAN GANGSTER IS STILL AVAILABLE IF YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR WAITRESS OVER.
Then Brazilian media giant Globo reported that the fight was on. However, the authoritative Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole spoke with Lorenzo Fertitta, and related that the fight was in discussion only, and not finalized.
Now apparently visa issues have kept Sonnen from fighting on the card, which takes place on June 15, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
“I’m very sad that I won’t be able to fight at June 15," Shogun told Tatame. "I got so much ready for this with my team of coaches. I was crazy to fight. I had already changed my strategy, I was ready to get in action, but the UFC told my manager that Sonnen had problems to get a visa to fly to Canada. That’s why they cancelled the fight, and that’s a shame.”
“I’ll have to wait a little longer to fight again, but my will is only getting bigger. UFC asked me to keep training, that I would fight on August 17, at Boston. I’d like to thank the support of my fans, they always gave me strength to train harder and fight.”
UFC 161 now goes forward with 11 fights. Jimmo vs. Pokrajac was moved up to the main card.
Main Card (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
Stipe Miocic vs. Roy Nelson
Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton
Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan
Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac
Prelim Card (FX, 8 p.m. ET)
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley
James Krause vs. Sam Stout
Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa
Prelim Card (Facebook, 7 p.m. ET)
Mitch Clarke vs. John Maguire
Yves Jabouin vs. Dustin Pague