Chael Sonnen has been a professional grappling promoter for a while and apparently he even had a hand in booking the recent match between Gordon Ryan and Mason Fowler at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 5. Sonnen was a very successful wrestler in the beginning of his combat sports career before making the transition to MMA and challenging for UFC titles in two divisions. After retiring from the competitive side of the sport he moved into promotional work by creating Submission Underground and although they haven’t produced any events in several years, he still has an impact on professional grappling.
He explained in a recent interview with MMAMania why he had to try to make the match between Ryan and Fowler happen:
“The driving force of that was a wonderful young lady named Heather Standing. Heather passed away. Heather had a dream, and her biggest dream was she wanted to get Gordon Ryan and Mason Fowler together. So, we had to call Dana White, say, ‘Hey, we have to get this done.’ We were about to do it, we gotta get it done.”
Unfortunately the match didn’t actually come to fruition because Ryan was injured and replaced by Haisam Rida instead. Fowler submitted Rida in their match and now he clearly has some unfinished business with Ryan that Sonnen would love to see concluded:
“Dana actually booked the match out of respect to Heather, and then Gordon ended up getting (injured) and that match didn’t happen. That was supposed to be last weekend. A very big deal, a bit of an open wound. I miss Submission Underground, but it will be back.”
This isn’t the first time that Sonnen has said that he would like to bring Submission Underground back, but this is the first time that he’s said that it definitely will return. Their last event took place just shy of two years ago and although Submission Underground 29 was a great event, there’s still no concrete news on where or when their 30th event will happen.
The original interview with Chael Sonnen where he explains how he had a hand in booking Gordon Ryan v Mason Fowler was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of MMAMania: