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25 Jan, 2022 19:14

Khabib signs UFC legend Sonnen as pundit

Eagle FC has secured the services of MMA icon Chael Sonnen as a commentator and analyst, the promotion has confirmed
Khabib signs UFC legend Sonnen as pundit

Newly-turned promoter Khabib Nurmagomedov's burgeoning Eagle Fighting Championship (EFC) has announced that another UFC legend, Chael Sonnen, will join the organization as a commentator and analyst.

Forty-nine bout Sonnen was known for his trash-talking during a fighting career in which he challenged for the light-heavyweight and middleweight UFC belts, earning a reputation for his sharp-tongued wit as he tangled with fellow stars including Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping.

The American had already gained ample experience behind a microphone by the time he retired from Bellator MMA in June 2019, having fought five times for the promotion following a hiatus of more than three years after he left the UFC in 2013.

Broadcaster ESPN, Global Force Wrestling, the World Series of Fighting and Bellator have all previously employed charismatic Sonnen on analytical duties.

EFC, which has been known almost exclusively for its all-action events in Russia until now, is expanding into the US from a new base in Miami, and Nurmagomedov said he hoped the promotion would be prolific at putting on shows during 2022.

Ex-UFC fighter and occasional Nurmagomedov critic Kevin Lee formally joined EFC in December 2021, when the Russian held a press conference announcing the creation of two new weight divisions at 165lbs and 175lbs alongside his ambitious plans for the promotion.

Lee is expected to debut in March for EFC, which will launch its events in the US for the year when veteran MMA favorite Sergei Kharitonov faces boxing and kickboxing powerhouse Tyrone Spong on January 28.

Astute businessman Nurmagomedov will be keenly aware of Sonnen's huge profile and popularity in the US, where he has even run for political positions and appeared on hit reality TV show The New Celebrity Apprentice.

Sonnen is closing in on one million followers on his YouTube channel, where he regularly holds forth on the latest MMA news and events, accompanied by clips on his Instagram page followed by more than 570,000 fans.

The 44-year-old has frequently voiced his opinion on Nurmagomedov, most recently when he claimed the Dagestani had shown mercy on final UFC opponent Justin Gaethje.

According to Sonnen, Nurmagomedov opted not to break Gaethje's arm in his swansong victory at UFC 254 in October 2021.

Announcing Sonnen's signing by using one of his nicknames, EFC posted on social media: "The Bad Guy hits South Beach."