UFC Fighter and TV commentator Chael Sonnen sank to a new low on Sept. 16th when he joked about domestic violence on FOX Television's new national sports channel.
On FOX Sports 1, Sonnen made light of the 2009 assault of Rihanna by her then-boyfriend and R&B singer Chris Brown.
Referring to boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., Chael Sonnen said the following on FOX Sports Live: "I've never seen anybody in the history of America get so rich and so famous off of having complete wimps throw a punch at their faces. I know what you're saying. You're saying, 'Well, it's happened before, what about Rihanna?'"
Others on the FOX Sports 1 show, including former NBA player Gary Payton, laughed at Sonnen’s domestic violence joke. It was the latest in a series of offensive comments made by Sonnen, who was convicted of money laundering in January 2011.
Last year, Sonnen taunted UFC opponent Anderson Silva by making an offensive comment about how he would treat a woman, in this case Silva’s wife. Sonnen said, "You tell Anderson Silva I'm coming over and I'm kicking down his back door and patting his little lady on the (butt), and I'm telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare, just how I like it.” Sonnen also referred to UFC “Octagon Girl” Arianny Celeste as the “IQ Card Girl.”
Since the beginning of the year, more than 70 women’s organizations and advocates for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as clergy and academics from 47 U.S. states and 24 countries, have demanded that the UFC put an end to the sexist and homophobic remarks and actions made by UFC fighters and company representatives.
In January of this year, the UFC announced that it adopted a code of conduct for its fighters. However, the anti-social comments have continued. The promotion still allowed former UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who had posted a mock rape video on the internet, to fight on national television in Chicago.
FOX Sports -- not Sonnen nor the UFC -- apologized on the fighter’s behalf for Sonnen’s comments, saying, “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.”
The statement echoed one UFC executive’s attempt to minimize the offensive nature of the mock online rape video by former UFC fighter “Rampage” Jackson, in which Jackson pretends to assault someone in a parking garage. The UFC executive said that Jackson had “a very underdeveloped sense of humor.”