Meet the controversial UFC cult hero claiming to replace Mike Tyson in Jake Paul fight who was targeted by death threats /d

CHAEL SONNEN’s claim he is Mike Tyson’s replacement to fight Jake Paul in just the latest controversy of his career.

Tyson suffered a major health scare just a few weeks out from his showdown with the YouTuber.

Chael Sonnen claims he could replace Mike Tyson to fight Jake Paul

Chael Sonnen claims he could replace Mike Tyson to fight Jake PaulCredit: Getty

Iron Mike suffered a medical scare on a flight just weeks before the bout

Iron Mike suffered a medical scare on a flight just weeks before the boutCredit: Rex
And that sparked chaos on social media with Sonnen trying to convince fans he was contracted to be the substitute if the boxing icon pulls out.

Sonnen went from public enemy No1 to fans’ favourite over a 49-fight career.

Considered one of the greatest talkers on the MMA mic, the American “Bad Guy” has transformed his charisma to a career in films and TV.

But who is the self-proclaimed American Gangster?

Sonnen started wrestling as young as nine and went on to become a champion at school and university level.

By 19, Sonnen hung up his wrestling boots to focus on MMA with aspirations of making it to the UFC.

And 22 fights later – spanning across Asia and America – Sonnen made his UFC debut in defeat to Renato Sobral in 2005.

The grappler was in and out of different promotions until again returning to the UFC in 2009 – this time as an outspoken contender.

At the time, Anderson Silva was in the middle of his iconic reign at middleweight.

And Sonnen needed to create some buzz around challenging the Brazilian – so he went after his beloved nation.

Sonnen blasted Brazil before and after the announcement of his 2010 title challenge against Silva with a series of infamous insults.

He once said: “Anderson is a fraud. He is a liar and he is a thief.

“This guy is not from a bowing culture, you bow in Brazil, they hit you over the head and take your wallet out of your pocket.”

Sonnen took it a step further when he dragged Silva’s wife Dayane into the trash talk.

He ruthlessly said: “You tell Anderson Silva that I’m coming over and I’m kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the a** and I’m telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare just how I like it.”

The tense build-up produced one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history and the bout did not disappoint.

Sonnen dominated the previously untouchable Silva for four rounds and was moments away from a shock victory.

But with only seconds remaining until the final bell, the champion locked in a dramatic arm submission and turned the fight on its head.

Sonnen was beaten with under two minutes to go and later opened up about getting death threats from Silva’s fans.


He told The MMA Hour after the fight: “It got a little bit out of hand. The level of death threats got a little bit high.

“I reached ten death threats, and I think number seven was actually serious. By the looks of his eyes, it looked like he’d stabbed somebody before.”

Sonnen worked his way up to a rematch in 2012 but he was knocked out in round two.

A year later and in his very next fight, he moved up to light-heavyweight to challenge all-time great Jon Jones.

But following another build-up full of taunts and insults, Jones ended the argument in under a round with a brutal stoppage victory.

Sonnen would never again hit the same heights of coming so close to dethroning Silva.

Instead, his best highlights came on the mic but over time he turned into a cult hero among MMA fans.

That is despite failing drug tests and brazenly admitting to his crimes.

Sonnen was embroiled in several doping scandals during his career and in 2014 accepted a two-year suspension for FIVE drug failures.

But instead of making up excuses or providing flimsy excuses, he has remained honest about using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson’s lifestyles compared

ONE is a notorious YouTuber-turned-boxer who has taken the sport by storm.

The other terrorised all in the ring in the 1980s and 1990s, famously biting the ear off an opponent in one fight.

Iron Mike has rebuilt his life after squandering a £300m fortune with a cannabis empire, and is a huge advocate of the drug.

And as Paul has continued to rise up the ranks, he has splashed the cash on a fleet of amazing cars.

Whereas Tyson had more money than sense until a £15m debt saw him part with his cherished car collection.

Paul now lives in a plush mansion worth £13m in Puerto Rico, after escaping his hectic life in LA.

But these days, Tyson lounges in his Vegas property he paid £2.5m for with wife Lakiha, who he married in 2009.

Paul is not yet married but is smitten with his speed skater girlfriend  Jutta Leerdam.

She will be by his side when her man puts his 9-1 boxing record on the line against two-time heavyweight champ Tyson on July 20.

He told Jackass’ Steve-O: “I don’t know if anybody’s failed more drug tests than me.

“But the other side is I don’t know if anybody’s gotten away with more drugs than me.

“They got me over seven substances. But I was on at least 17. Those tests aren’t all that good.”

Sonnen has taken his talents away from the cage with cameo roles in 2012 movie Here Comes the Boom and Grudge Match a year later.

He played himself in both.

Sonnen fought up until 2019 but retired at 42 following defeat to Lyoto Machida.

He went on to work for Bellator as a commentator and pundit and has since kept his role after the merge with the Professional Fighters League.

Sonnen and Silva’s first bout was also inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame – but their rivalry is not yet over.

Despite becoming friends, they prepare to meet in a trilogy bout on June 15 in Brazil, this time in the boxing ring.

So Sonnen raised eyebrows when he claimed to be the confirmed back-up for YouTuber-turned-boxer Paul’s bout with Iron Mike.

Credit: The Sun
Tyson suffered a health scare boarding a flight going from Miami to LA when he had an ulcer flare-up.

It led to fears his controversial clash with Paul on July 20 in Texas was facing the KO.

And Sonnen stoked up a fire when he posted: “I guess it was wise of Jake Paul to write me into the contract as Tyson’s backup, wasn’t it???

“If Jake Paul realizes he might be fighting ME in a month, HE may be the one having a heart attack.”

Despite Sonnen’s claim, fans knew better than to take it seriously before Paul quickly assured fans the fight was still on.

He said: “You love to make s*** up before knowing the facts for clicks and likes. Nothing changed.”

Tyson, taking the chance to aim a dig, followed up with: “Now feeling 100 per cent even though I don’t need to be to beat Jake Paul.”

Sonnen won 31 of his 49 MMA fights

Sonnen won 31 of his 49 MMA fightsCredit: Getty

He challenged for the UFC light-heavyweight and middleweight titles

He challenged for the UFC light-heavyweight and middleweight titlesCredit: Getty

The American lost to Anderson Silva in a UFC thriller

The American lost to Anderson Silva in a UFC thrillerCredit: Getty

Sonnen married Brittany in July 2013

Sonnen married Brittany in July 2013Credit: Getty

The controversial star appeared in two films

The controversial star appeared in two filmsCredit: Getty

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