During an appearance on Below The Belt, Sonnen stated that he had one opportunity to do business with WWE and take his talents to the professional wrestling business. He said the offer came just prior to his fight with Anderson Silva, and Sonnen notes WWE came after him because they told him they were looking to have some younger stars injected into their roster.
As Sonnen tells the story, WWE contacted him right before the Silva fight with two different offers. He didn't say which member of WWE contacted him but said "you can probably figure it out."
The first alleged offer was for him to no-show the big PPV fight with Silva without giving UFC any heads up. Sonnen claims WWE told him he had to give them an answer right then and there as they were offering it, and that if he did accept the offer, they would wire him $1 million instantaneously.
Sonnen states that the second offer was that if he defeated Silva for the UFC title, he would come to RAW with the UFC's middleweight title belt. In doing so, WWE would agree to pay him $5 million. According to Sonnen, he was 33 when this happened, so that would mean it was prior to Silva vs. Sonnen at UFC 117 in 2010.
You can watch the interview clip below.
Sonnen is a noted long time pro wrestling fan who often times modeled his MMA promos after wrestling promos that he grew up watching. That became a succesful tactic for him, winning the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Best on the Microphone" award in 2010.
The story Sonnen told on Below The Belt, though not corroborated by anyone else, is an interesting one because it plays into so many of the old ways WWE and their rivals did business at the height of the wrestling wars.0comments
For example, Vince McMahon has always claimed that the reason he double-crossed Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997 in Montreal was because he was afraid Hart would show up on WCW Nitro with the WWE championship belt. Ironically, Sonnen claims that WWE asked him to do the very thing to UFC that WWE was paranoid their champion might do in 1997.
Sonnen continues to be a big name in MMA, though at age 41 he is past his prime. He last fought for UFC in 2013, a loss to Rashad Evans. These days, he has been fighting for Bellator MMA. His last bout was in January, a victory over Quinton Jackson.