Bellator Chael Sonnen talks Celebrity Apprentice, Streep, Trump

MMA stars Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) will return to action inside the beautifully renovated Forum in Inglewood, Calif. to headline “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” card on Saturday, Jan. 21. The event will be broadcast live and free on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
MMA stars Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) will return to action inside the beautifully renovated Forum in Inglewood, Calif. to headline “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” card on Saturday, Jan. 21. The event will be broadcast live and free on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

Chael Sonnen likes to fight. Chael Sonnen likes to talk.

The multi-talented athlete/entertainer discussed President-elect Donald Trump, actress Meryl Streep and “Celebrity Apprentice” during a phone interview to promote Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen.

During the “Golden Globes” on Sunday on NBC, actress Meryl Streep received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, and instead of thanking others for her successful movie-making career, she decided to deliver an anti-Trump speech, which included a jab at the NFL and also mixed martial arts.

What did Sonnen think about Streep’s commentary?

“I didn’t think it was the time nor the place for that,” he said. “I’ve never understood...Here’s the deal. Those people are very talented, but they are not influential, and they can really get that confused.

“I’ve watched Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus come out and try to get political, and it’s like, ‘Gosh, you’re so talented, and we appreciate and like you...but we do not respect your opinion intellectually or about where the country should go,’ and it doesn’t matter what side [politically] you’re on. We just don’t respect your opinion...

“Those two are really well liked, but they aren’t influential, and they seem to miss that, and it’s a big miss as a politician trying to get them on your side. It ends up working against you.

“Meryl Streep is a little bit rare, because she might be the greatest talent of all time, but I would encourage her to stay in her own lane and let us just enjoy her work. I didn’t have the biggest problem [with mentioning MMA]. I was more flattered that she brought up mixed martial arts at all. I thought that was a positive. I was a little surprised she took a swipe at football...but I didn’t think she needed to do any of it. I thought she put herself in a reckless position with no gain and for no reason.”

Speaking politics, the former UFC fighter knows a little something about ‘em. In 2010, Sonnen ran as the Republican candidate for the 37th district of the Oregon House of Representatives.

“If I have time, I’d consider a run in 2018 for a Federal seat for the U.S. Congress, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it or not,” he said. “It’s just a time issue. I have a lot of interests, but I only have a small window to compete. If I’m still competing, then that dream might get put on hold.”

Donald Trump, formerly of the “Celebrity Apprentice,” became the Republican nominee and then won the Presidency of the United States of America.

“I loved it,” he said. “I was a big Trump fan, but it didn’t come from politics. One, I really enjoyed his show [Celebrity Apprentice], but it even preceded that. I’m into real estate. My family is into real estate. I read Trump’s book. I found him to be a really brilliant and interesting guy, hard working, smart.

“I had an opportunity to be around him one time. He was an owner or had some kind of an interest in an MMA promotion called Affliction. He came out to an event, ran the weigh-ins, was amongst the crowd for the show. He’s a dynamic guy. He’s very interesting.

“Politics aren’t fun. I love ‘em, but I get it that other people don’t. I love amateur wrestling. I get it that other people don’t. Most people find it boring. For the first time, politics were not boring. They were very fun this cycle, and I think they are going to stay fun for another eight years.”

Turning to the new “Celebrity Apprentice,” Sonnen is a contestant this season, which is 8 p.m. EST Mondays on NBC. Since Trump has other items on his plate, the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the new boss.

“’Celebrity Apprentice’ was great. I had a great time,” he said. “It really was the ultimate game. Governor Schwarzenegger was a magnetic, great guy. I looked forward to seeing him each day, fun to be around. The people on there were great. The people who understood that we were playing a game had a great experience. The people who did not understand that this was a game they were getting drunk and catty and walking off and going off on one another, but that’s on them. You gotta have a level of protocol when you’re competing in anything, and the bottom line is you go as hard as you can; you shake hands at the end; and you walk away.”


Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen

It’s a fight that many mixed martial arts fans thought they’d never see, but on Saturday, Jan. 21, Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) will return to action inside the beautifully renovated Forum in Inglewood, Calif. to headline “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen.”

In college, the two met on the wrestling mat in a matchup that Sonnen won by pinning Ortiz on his birthday. Now, Ortiz will have the opportunity to avenge that loss when the compete in the Bellator MMA cage.

The event will be broadcast live and free on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Preliminary action will stream on and the Bellator Mobile App. Additional main and preliminary card bouts will be announcing in the coming weeks.

Since shocking the world with his surprise signing with Bellator MMA last month, Sonnen has made it clear he wants to fight anyone and everyone – regardless of weight class, or anything else that could stand in his way. Sitting atop that list, is a name that has sat atop the sport of MMA practically since its inception, Tito Ortiz.

Not one to shy away from any sort of challenge, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” wasted zero time welcoming “The American Gangster” to the fray as only he can, by responding to Sonnen’s call-out with open arms on his social media account.

Sonnen spent a vast majority of his 43-fight career with the UFC, a run where he competed against names the likes of Jon Jones, Anderson Silva (2x), Rashad Evans, “Shogun” Rua, Demian Maia, Brian Stann, and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping. In addition to his exploits inside the cage, the West Linn, Ore., native has mastered the art of being in front of the camera, doing major broadcasting work for both ESPN and Fox Sports. Now, after a three-year hiatus from active MMA competition, Sonnen looks to add to his impressive resume by defeating Ortiz.

Known to the masses as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” or “The People’s Champion” Tito Ortiz is a fan favorite all over the world. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion has always been one of the toughest competitors in the cage, utilizing his wrestling background; Ortiz is a grinder who defended his title an impressive five times. Always with a flair for the dramatic, Ortiz had intense rivalries in the cage with guys like Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, and Randy Couture. Most recently, Ortiz challenged current Bellator MMA 205-pound champion Liam McGeary at “Bellator: Dynamite 1.”



About Bellator

Bellator is a leading Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 500 million homes worldwide in more than 140 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on Spike, the combat sports television leader. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations.

Bellator is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms. About Spike: Spike is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks. A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.

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