Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen has parlayed his quick-wit and sharp tongue into a successful broadcast career, serving as "UFC Tonight" co-host and special guest on "FOX Sports Live" on FOX Sports 1.
But, "American Gangster" crossed the line earlier this week (full details here) when he attempted to get a laugh out of viewers during a recent taping of "FOX Sports Live," comparing Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s competition ("Canelo Alvarez") to R&B singer Chris Brown's 2009 assault on his then girlfriend and fellow pop star, Rihanna.
Sonnen's ill-timed dig:
"Look, Floyd needs to keep doing what he's doing, which is fighting complete tomato cans who 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. 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 it. Too soon? Was it too soon?"
The attempt at humor did not sit too well with Sonnen's primary boss, UFC President Dana White, who said during a recent media scrum (watch full video here) that Sonnen, as good as he is with words, needs to leave the comedy routine to the pros and stick to the broadcast basics.
"First of all, the joke wasn't that funny. He's not a comedian, and you can't make fun of domestic violence or any other thing. He's a sports commentator and he's got to knock that shit off. He's got to stop. He's got to stop or it's not going to be good. Chael needs to stop the comedy and do what he's on that show to do. He's great at it. He's super talented. Leave the jokes to the comedians."
FOX has already issued an apology on behalf of the Sonnen, while the two-time Middleweight No. 1 contender, as well as unsuccessful 205-pound championship challenger, has yet to personally respond to the backlash.
Meantime, Sonnen will likely focus his mixed martial arts (MMA) efforts on his upcoming training camp as he prepares to battler Rashad Evans in the co-main event of UFC 167, which takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 16, 2013.
And on the heels of all of the negative press, it's safe to assume the rabble-rousing Republican will likely heed White's advice and leave the comedy bits at home the next time he's on national television.
Inside, and nearby, the Octagon, however, is probably a different -- and mildly amusing -- story.