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ESPN Analyst and Former UFC Fighter Charged with 11 Counts of Battery

  A former fan favorite UFC fighter has been charged with 11 counts of battery in relation to an incident that took place in December. Accor...

 A former fan favorite UFC fighter has been charged with 11 counts of battery in relation to an incident that took place in December.

According to ESPN, Chael Sonnen originally received five battery charges for allegedly attacking six people in Las Vegas. Those charges were dismissed in January without prejudice.

Since the case was not dismissed with prejudice, the charges were able to be refiled. The Clark County, Nevada, district attorney filed the latest criminal charges on March 16, ESPN reported. 

The complaint includes one felony charge of battery by strangulation.

Sonnen, 44, is accused of punching a man before punching and kicking a second man. He allegedly punched a third man in the face, punched and kneed a fourth man, and elbowed a fifth man. 

The sixth alleged victim is a woman, upon whom Sonnen is accused of using “force of violence.” The filing says he pushed her and struck her in some way.

The motive for the alleged attack was not immediately clear 

Sonnen is currently employed as an MMA analyst for ESPN, but the network said he “will not appear on ESPN as we explore the details of these serious charges.” His initial court appearance is scheduled for April 27.

Sonnen achieved a 30-17-1 overall record during his fighting career. He gained notoriety by embracing a villain role as he took on better-known names in the sport.

He never won a title belt in the UFC, but he did challenge belt-holders on multiple occasions.

His highest-profile rival was former middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The two fought for the UFC middleweight championship belt twice, with Silva winning both bouts. 

Even without any championships, Sonnen was “one of the most popular and well-paid fighters of his era,” ESPN reported. That did not stop his athletic career from ending in controversy.

In May 2014, he failed a random drug test ahead of a scheduled fight at UFC 175. He announced his retirement from the UFC soon after, MMA Fighting reported.  

Just weeks later, he failed a second random test and was terminated from his role as an analyst at Fox. The Nevada Athletic Commission imposed a two-year MMA ban on Sonnen following the second failed test.

Sonnen never returned to the UFC following the ban, but he did sign with competitor MMA league Bellator. He officially retired from competition in 2019, ESPN reported.

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