Chael Sonnen ridicules Sambo: ‘I don’t think sambo’s real’

Chael Sonnen might be employed by Eagle FC but he’s not about to ingratiate himself to the brass.

Sonnen was recently spotted poking fun at sambo and Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of the sport’s most well-known proponents. Sonnen, who was a well-known grappler during his MMA career, dismissed the importance of sambo as a martial art on an episode of Beyond the Fight.

Sambo is a Russian martial art that is said to have started during the Soviet period in the 1920s. It focuses mostly on grappling skills. Unlike other grappling arts – combat sambo allows for the use of strikes.

Khabib Nurmagomedov famously poked fun at jiu jitsu wearing the now infamous t shirt.

"If Sambo was easy it would be called jiu jitsu" was written on Khabib's t shirt during one of the weight ins
“If Sambo was easy it would be called jiu jitsu” was written on Khabib’s t shirt during one of the weight ins

This is particularly pertinent right now with the lightweight division featuring a Brazilian champion – Charles Oliveira – with an impressive ground game. This inspired Nurmagomedov to recently invoke the famous line and diss Oliveira.

Sonnen told, “For me, that’s interesting. And I do know that the jiu-jitsu community, as a community, has been very scared to do that. I don’t know why. I think jiu-jitsu wins. I don’t think sambo’s real. I never have.”

He went on to say:

“I think there’s a reason that you can’t get a scholarship in sambo. I think there’s a reason if you go and attend an Olympic games, they’re not going to have a sambo village.”

“I don’t think it’s very real. But we’ve got a part of the world, headlined by Khabib and a whole bunch of bada**es out of Dagestan that say that I’m wrong.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov had only lost one fight in his sambo career.

Khabib had participated in roughly 250 sambo matches before entering the UFC. Some suggested that the wear and tear from Nurmagomedov’s sambo matches led to his early departure from MMA.

Of course it’s far more likely Nurmagomedov is a man of his word and will instead serve as the head of the Nurmagomedov family in lieu of his father’s death.