UFC star Chael Sonnen sues business partner and Mean Streets Pizza co-owner

Jonathan Ferrey

Oregon Live is reporting that UFC fighter Chael Sonnen is suing Lee Gamble, his partner in Linn, Oregon's Mean Streets Pizza and alleging that Gamble embezzled $20,000 from the restaurant.

Former UFC Middleweight title contender turned The Ultimate Fighter coach, Fuel TV commentator and UFC Light Heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen is turning to the courts to sort out his tangled business affairs. From Oregon Live:

Professional mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen is suing his business partner and the co-owner of his West Linn restaurant, claiming he embezzled $20,000 and owes Sonnen another nearly $23,000 in borrowed money and unpaid rent.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month in Clackamas County Circuit Court also seeks to oust Lee Gamble, who co-owns Mean Street Pizza with the Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, from the limited liability corporation the pair run. West Linn Guys, LLC owns the restaurant, which opened last year.

Gamble also never paid Sonnen back after borrowing $10,000, the suit alleges, and owes him $12,600 after failing to pay rent for the past seven months for the West Linn home Sonnen owns and rents to Gamble.

Sonnen is no stranger to crazy business mix ups, like the one that necessitated he plead guilty to federal felony money laundering charges in 2011:

Sonnen acted as the real estate agent in a transaction involving a home in Portland, and submitted a false letter and sales agreement instructing the title company to disburse $69,000 to a contractor for plumbing repairs. However, in a deal arranged by Lighthouse employees, $65,000 of the money was actually kicked back to the buyer.

Sonnen's former coach Matt Lindland attempted to explain the real estate situation on Chael's behalf:

"I think Chael has made a couple of mistakes," he said. "He didn't think things through. I don't think there was any malice in what he did at all. If you knew him really well, you'd understand that he's not about, 'How can I make a quick buck?'

"The way I look at this stuff, it looks like somebody asked him to do a solid. In his mind, he didn't think of the consequences and the ramifications behind this. It was like, 'Oh yeah, sure.' Part of the daily, 'How can I help this guy out?'"

Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for updates on all of Chael's fights in and out of the Octagon. Sonnen is set to challenge Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight title at UFC 159 on April 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.


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