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Chael Sonnen announces retirement after Lyoto Machida loss at Bellator 222

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Chael Sonnen is moving on from the sport of MMA.

“The Bad Guy” is hanging up his gloves for good.

Chael Sonnen announced his retirement from MMA after losing to Lyoto Machida in the Bellator 222 co-main event on Friday night in Chicago. Machida, after a dominant first round, stopped Sonnen with strikes early in the second round. A flying knee set up the finish and Machida finished Sonnen off with ground-and-pound.

“I got one thing to say: I had a hell of a lot of fun,” Sonnen said in his post-fight intervieww. “I had a good run. Scott Coker gave me a five-fight deal; he let me honor all five fights. And, ladies and gentlemen, I’m walking out. I appreciate the memories. And goodbye.”

Sonnen said in a later interview that his decision to walk away from MMA had to due with a lack of title hopes. Sonnen said he leaves the sport with no regrets and that he “loved every minute of it.”

“I was on a bit of a championship run,” Sonnen told ESPN after the loss. “If I had beaten Lyoto, I would have fought (Bellator light heavyweight champion) Ryan Bader for the world championship. That was the only reason I was in this sport. I promised my father I’d — I was just in the sport.”

Sonnen has fought — and, in some cases, beaten — the who’s who of the sport. Sonnen made his pro MMA debut in 1997 and fought for the UFC in two separate stints from 2005 to 2006 and 2009 to 2013, respectively. He challenged for titles in two separate weight classes. He is the only person to have fought all of the following: Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, and Fedor Emelianenko.

Sonnen, who also competed for the likes of WEC and Bodog Fight, boasts wins over Michael Bisping, Mauricio Rua, Brian Stann, Nate Marquardt, and, more recently, Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen has fought more than 10 former champions in major promotions, including Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, and Forrest Griffin.

The closest Sonnen got to UFC gold was when he was minutes away from dethroning then-middleweight champ Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in 2010. Silva locked up a triangle choke with less than two minutes left in the five-round fight, which Sonnen won the majority of.

Sonnen retired in July 2014 after failing a drug test, which scrapped a planned fight against Vitor Belfort — which was at first supposed to be a bout opposite rival Wanderlei Silva. He returned to MMA three years later when he signed with Bellator. Sonnen recorded a 2-3 record with the promotion.

Sonnen, best known for his trash talk that many believe changed the MMA world, retires on a two-fight skid and with a record of 30-17-1 — nearly 50 pro fights.

Sonnen works for ESPN and Bellator as an MMA analyst; he plans to continue his duties outside the cage. He told ESPN that he is calling the Bellator London card later this month.