Chael Sonnen Announces Official Retirement From MMA

Amidst a two-day whirlwind that shockingly saw former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen fail a Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) drug test prior to his UFC 175 showdown with Vitor Belfort (his previously scheduled opponent Wanderlei Silva was forced out for avoiding the exact same drug test), ‘The American Gangster’ said he would have to choose his health or his fighting career after being forced to wean off of testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) after the NSAC and UFC banned the controversial treatment earlier this year.

Tonight, news has come that he has chose the former.

Sonnen announced his retirement just moments ago on UFC Tonight, thanking former champion Anderson Silva for boosting his career in front of the world on the weekly MMA news program:

“First off, I had a great time. I want to thank the single most important opponent I’ve ever had, and Kenny, I couldn’t have got to where I am without this dance partner, and that is of course you, Anderson Silva. Thank you for the opportunity, thank you for the memories, thank you for the invitation to the barbecue even though I didn’t take you up on it.

But right now guys, I do want to take an opportunity to officially announce my retirement from competitive mixed martial arts (MMA).

I want to stay within the rules, and I don’t fully understand them. And I have to put my health first; I have to put my family first.”

After testing positive for estrogen blockers Anastrozole and Clomifene (and also admitting to taking Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), Sonnen fell under intense scrutiny for calling out Silva for avoiding the drug test while failing his own.

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Sonnen claimed that he never knew he would have been notified by the NSAC that he was taking a banned substance (not illegal, per say).

Sonnen cited that his medications were taken “out of contest” in an effort to replace much-needed lost testosterone so he could father a child with his wife. Despite that, Florian told Sonnen that aside from the circumstances, he had to know what he was putting in his body and whether it was legal for competition for not.

To that, Sonnen admitted he was at fault before stepping down from the sport he’s become one of the most recognizable personas in:

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“I do want to admit fault. I want to make sure I take full responsibility. Yesterday, when I came out, Kenny, I was mad. I was a fighter and I went into defense mode. However, the rules are the rules, and I understand that. I don’t want to break the rules. And ultimately, it comes down to the athlete to make sure he is in compliance.”

His wife is now pregnant, and he can go on to the next phase in his life.

However, MMA fans everywhere can’t help but feel a little bit cheated, as the whole The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil Saga with Sonnen and Silva has been a mess, not to mention Belfort’s own drug test issues that became embroiled in the situation.

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So ‘The American Gangster’ is done fighting, and it couldn’t have happened in a much less admirable way. Thoughts?

Photo: Winslow Townson for USA TODAY Sports