ESPN’s Greg Rosenstein noted on Twitter this week that former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen claimed WWE tried to get him to jump ship with a huge offer.
Sonnen claimed WWE contacted him in 2012, right before his second loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in July of that year, and wanted him to skip the weigh-ins, and then skip the fight. Sonnen claimed another offer was made later – show up for the fight, beat Anderson to capture the UFC Middleweight Title, then show up on RAW with the title. The pay was said to be $5 million.
“Chael Sonnen says before his second fight with Anderson Silva, someone from WWE called him with an offer and said to not weigh in and not fight. Later, a second offer was show, beat Anderson and be on RAW that week with the belt. $5 million,” Rosenstein wrote on Twitter.
Sonnen, who currently works for Bellator MMA, was rumored to be in talks with WWE a few times over the years, but nothing ever came of those talks. There had been rumors of Sonnen possibly wrestling or doing commentary with the promotion. He has attended WWE events in the past, and did a few pieces for the WWE website.
Sonnen spoke with CBS Sports in 2018 and said WWE wasn’t happy with him for turning down an appearance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
“I don’t think so and I kind of pissed those guys off,” Sonnen told CBS last year. “I was asked to be a contestant in a [battle royal] and I wasn’t against it, but I just couldn’t get the date. I actually worked hard and I tried to clear it. I tried to do it but [WWE] thought I blew them off. I haven’t really heard back and whenever they come to down, they invite me and give me and some friends some really good tickets and we have a real blast.”
Regarding the $5 million offer mentioned above, Sonnen first mentioned the offer during a 2014 episode of his podcast. He did not reveal the details, but said WWE offered him the $5 million to jump ship. Sonnen also said he withheld that information from UFC at the time.
“Here’s the nuts and bolts of it: I was offered $5 million by Vince McMahon,” Sonnen said in 2014. “Now, I was still under contract with the UFC and I never took this to Dana. I handled it on my own. I told [WWE], ‘No’ and that was the end of that. I never told Dana White this story, but here’s why I didn’t tell him. I knew if I called Dana and said, ‘I’ve got a $5 million offer from Vince McMahon,’ Dana would have matched it.”
As seen below, CM Punk responded to the new report on WWE’s plans for Sonnen back in 2012. Punk, who has been linked to Sonnen in the past, wrote, “It was me. It was me all along. Lol”
You can see both tweets below:
Chael Sonnen says before his second fight with Anderson Silva, someone from WWE called him with an offer and said to not weigh in and not fight.
— Greg Rosenstein (@grosenstein) June 10, 2019
It was me. It was me all along. Lol
— CM Puck🏒 (@CMPunk) June 10, 2019