As was announced earlier this afternoon (June 10) Chael Sonnen has tested positive (May 24) for banned substances and will not be participating in his upcoming UFC 175 bout, which is scheduled for this coming July 5 in Las Vegas.
By way of defending himself, Sonnen immediately took to the Jay Mohr Sports show on FOX Sports Radio, as well as FOX Sports 1, to explain away his failed drug test, and according to Sonnen it all has to do with game days, his transition of TRT, in-and-out of competition guidelines, having to choose between the sport and his health, and fertility issues. In a nutshell, Sonnen doesn’t have just one reason for being in breach of the rules, but several.
Stating that he “had to take a couple of things” – clomiphene and hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) – to help him “transition” off of the banned testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that he'd been on, Sonnen painted himself as a fighter attempting to comply with the newly established rules. However, in review, Sonnen appears to have been playing with rules more than complying with their intent or spirit.
Holding firm to his contention that athletes "have" to take these products “when (they're) coming off testosterone,” Sonnen pitched his case that the “non-anabolic, non-steroid, non-performance enhancing agents” that he tested positive for are “perfectly legal” by the rules.
Sonnen fleshed out his postition by stating that – according to NSAC’s own rules, as Sonnen downloaded from the internet – the governing body has no prohibitions regarding the use of these products prior to a fighter seeking an NSAC license. In short, “The American Gangster’s” is under the impression that – under NSAC rules – an athlete can use any non-anabolic product so long as they are “out-of-competition.”
Regarding it all, Sonnen stated that he was confused by the rules and that he was unsure of where to turn for “clarity” on the issue.
"There is a little bit of a confusion on the rules. It's kind of tough where you're like, Oh, really? This is a banned substance? Where do we find that? Who exactly do we go to for clarity on this?”
In terms of answering Sonnen’s question, fans might suggest the he should have called the Nevada State Athletic Commission – (702) 486-2575 – and asked their opinion on the matter. Further, fans might also suggest that if Sonnen had any doubt regarding the use or legality of these products that he should have simply avoided them altogether.
Additionally, Sonnen's use of these products – anastrozole, clomiphene, and hGC, the drug Sonnen admitted to taking, but which failed to show up on NSAC’s drug test – makes no sense, when the fighter readily acknowledged on Jay Mohr’s show that he knows these products “have (been) deemed…banned substances" by the commission.
As to his defense of being forced to choose between his health and fighting, the analogy doesn’t fly. Sonnen's real choice appears to have been between lying and cheating, and not lying and cheating, and sadly the convicted money launder and fraud artist opted for the former, not the latter.
In terms of Sonnen falling back on issues of progeneration – “I'm having fertility issues" – that’s a fairly limp excuse to offer up at age 37. Sonnen should have thought about children a long time ago and not now, when it can be used as convienient cover for his continued PED use. And on the point, if he’s that motivated to have kids and the only way he can get the job done is via chemical injection, then that’s just one more reason why Sonnen should choose retirement over continuing his fighting career.
As to how fans will take the news of his failed drug test it’s hard to see how they’ll greet it warmly. Fans have grown tired of this type of gamesmanship and they’ve grown tired of the subject of performance enhancing drugs. It’s clear that fans want a clean sport and plain rules; something they thought they were getting when NSAC banned TRT.
In the eyes of many, Sonnen’s positive test and the logic that he’s floated to defend it, will simply draw a line under the fact that no matter the rules (some) fighters will endeavour to find ways to circumvent the system and cheat. And that by their mind’s eye, so long as they test clean on “game day,” as Sonnen puts it, that everything is above board and by the rules.
For the record, Sonnen has stated that he will appeal NSAC's findings:
Sonnen says he will appeal the positive test.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 10, 2014