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UFC 284: Chael Sonnen slams Yair Rodriguez, Josh Emmett for ‘botched’ fight promotion

Many have ridiculed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a lack of promotion for UFC 284 tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) live on ESPN+ PPV from inside RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, but mixed martial arts (MMA) analyst Chael Sonnen is directly blaming two main card fighters for not building interest for their own fight.

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CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

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Sonnen, who knows a thing or two about self promotion and how to sell a MMA fight, doesn’t understand the lack of promotion from Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett leading up to their co-main event interim featherweight title fight at UFC 284. The headlining act between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski is certainly the main attraction, but we’ve heard almost nothing from Rodriguez or Emmett leading into this weekend and Sonnen is not happy.

“Josh Emmett versus Yair Rodríguez is very, very interesting. (But) I realize that they haven’t told anybody they’re fighting,” said Sonnen via YouTube. “Josh and Yair have botched this championship fight more than Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou. They have botched this fight more than Robert Whittaker botched his rematch with Israel Adesanya… These guys make Whittaker look like a tactical hard worker in the strategies of fight promotion.”

UFC president Dana White has assured fight fans that the promotion has done its job in marketing UFC 284, but nobody really knows for sure how much effort went into it. While Makhachev vs. Volkanovski is a massive super fight that doesn’t come around too often this card is not the biggest of the year nor is it going to break any viewership records (except maybe in Australia).

That’s why it’s important for other main card fighters like Rodriguez and Emmett to promote their matchup anyway they can. That could be done through social media, interviews, videos, and so forth. They’ve remained relatively quiet over the past few months and that isn’t sitting well with the “Bad Guy.”

“They have done nothing, they have told nobody that they’re fighting… They suck at promotion to an extent that a rhetorical master like myself can’t even begin to explain. I’ve gotta give them a whack for that,” Sonnen added. “In spite of that, it’s a great match.” will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 284: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 284 lineup and bout order click here.

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