Chael Sonnen to Launch ‘Submission Underground’ Grappling Series on July 17

By Tristen Critchfield May 17, 2016

Chael Sonnen’s first venture into the grappling world as a matchmaker will feature its fair share of recognizable names.

The UFC veteran’s debut event, entitled “Submission Underground” is the first of a series and takes place on July 17 at the Roseland Ballroom in Portland, Ore.. The card is one of three that will air exclusively on

The card will be headlined by a match between former UFC and WEC champ Benson Henderson and UFC, Strikeforce and WSOF veteran Jake Shields. Other matches on tap for the event include: Muhammed Lawal vs. Vinny Magalhaes; Kenny Florian vs. Filipe Costa; Ricco Rodriguez vs. Fabiano Scherner and Jens Pulver vs. Nathan Orchard.

“The mantra is: How do we figure out who the greatest alive is?” Sonnen said in a release. “We’re going to bring in all the smoke and mirrors and the great production. After that, we’re going to let whoever wants to be a part of this, whoever thinks they could be the greatest alive, to come out and prove it. We’re not going to lobby people to participate, and it won’t be invite only. We’re simply creating the environment.”

While the card will follow the submission-only format of the Eddie Bravo Invitational, here’s the part that might irk grappling purists: all matches will take place inside of a cage. There will be no weight classes for the initial event, and matches will last eight minutes before going into overtime.

According to a release, the winner of the overtime period will be determined as follows: “The winner of a coin flip can elect to start the overtime period attacking from the back or from the “spiderweb” (arm bar) position. If one competitor scores a submission and his opponent does not, he is declared the winner. But if both competitors escape from submission attempts, the match moves to the next overtime round. After three overtime rounds, the competitor who escaped the quickest is declared the winner.”

UFC announcer Bruce Buffer will introduce the participants, while’s TJ DeSantis and Sonnen will server as the broadcast team for the event.

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