Sonnen’s flare for phonetics, however, landed him in hot water following a recent appearance on Fox Sports Live. He was there to discuss Jon Jones’ upcoming title defense against Alexander Gustafsson, and served on a panel discussing the hot topics of the day.
The conversation shifted to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s recent boxing title defense and record-setting pay-per-view. Being a combat sports veteran, of course, Sonnen weighed in, infuriating many viewers with his comments.
“Look, Floyd (Mayweather) needs to keep doing what he's doing, which is fighting complete tomato cans that we've never heard of before. I've never seen anybody in the history of America get so rich and so famous off of having complete wimps throwing punch at their faces,” said Sonnen, before unleashing the comment that pushed the hot button for many viewers.
“I know what you're saying. You're saying, ‘Well, it's happened before, what about Rihanna?' Shame on you, classless. I will not stand for that. I will not stand for that.”
He paused briefly before adding, “Too soon? Was it too soon?”
Aside from her popularity as a musician, Rihanna was in the news a few years ago after her then-boyfriend, fellow singer Chris Brown, was convicted of felony assault and sentenced to five years probation for attacking her.
Following the blow-up over Sonnen’s comments, FOX issued the following statement to Deadspin.com:
FOX Sports regrets the comments Chael Sonnen made during last night's edition of FOX Sports Live. They were an inappropriate attempt at humor that Sonnen acknowledges shouldn’t have been made and he apologizes to anyone who may have been offended by his remarks.
Sonnen has not publicly commented on the situation outside of the statement from Fox.