Controversial ex-UFC light-heavy and middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen made a rather ungraceful and abrupt exit from the sport this year; after failing tests for hCG, EPO, HGH, Anastrozole and Clomephine, ‘The American Gangster’ retired from active fighting, and was fired from his job as Fox analyst.
Joining Chael P on the growing list of fighters failing drug tests is Vitor Belfort, who ties in with Wanderlei Silva to make a trio that wreaked havoc on UFC matchmakers earlier in the year. After a bust season of TUF Brazil, and rescheduling of fights left and right, Sonnen and Belfort are due to receive their comeuppance today:
Belfort has been licensed to fight in Nevada this December 6 after his lawyer confirmed that they talked about a middleweight title fight set to go down from Mandalay Bay.
The NSAC stated that they want a one hundred percent guarantee they would not be embarassed for licensing him, noting that he would be under increased and enhanced testing, including blood testing, until he “hangs up his gloves.”
The decision came after ‘The Phenom” was done issuing the following statement and answering a litany of follow-up questions from the commission:
“I truly appreciate it and thank the commission for concerning my application. I look forward to providing any information and answer any questions the commission may have. If the commission sees fit no grant my license, I look forward to fighting in Las Vegas soon.
I want to briefly address the question concerning test I took on February 7, 2014, that was requested by the commission. At the time that test was taken, I was considering filing for TUE for TRT from the commission. I was under TRT from Brazil for quite some time, and I believed that was widely known. Why I had not formal application for TRT TUE, the commission requested that I take a test, and I fully cooperated and took the test.
I confirmed to the commission in writing the fact the widely known fact that I was on TRT and had been for many years leading up to that test. And that I had further taken the TRT dose recommended by the doctors. My levels of testosterone were above the allowed amount but my doctor explained to me that it was related to the fact that I had taken the recommended treatment the day prior to the test.
To be clear, my level for testosterone was higher than allowed, and I take responsibility for that. I also take responsibility of not communicating better with the commission the fact that I was on TUE from Brazil.
In late February, the commission banned all TRT treatments, and I stop TRT that very same day. Since that February 7, 2014 test, I have taken many subsequent tests. Those test results have all been provided to the commission. As you know, the results of each test show the results show that my levels were all normal or blow normal. As you know, I later release the results public in order to try to clear up my controversy about the results. The commission was not able to release my results because the tests were down out of competition and I was not licensed at the time.
In the interest of the full disclosure in 2006, I was suspended and paid a fine in connection with failing a test in Nevada. I did not intentionally take a banned substances. I believe the failed test was due to a medical treatment I was taking for an injury at the time or a supplement.
In light of these prior two matters, I would ask respectfully that the commission consider licensing me. My priority is to have a championship fight in December in Las Vegas, so I would not expect to fight anywhere in Nevada or outside of Nevada, before December, and I would also like to say, that I want the commission to now that welcome additional testing that the commission deems necessary to the respect to being granted of the privilege of a license to fight here in the state of Nevada.
If the commission will give me the privilege a license to fight, I would agree that I would not fight anywhere before December, and I agree to additional reasonable testing. I will cooperate fully with the commission and I want to prove to the commission that I am a great fighter who follows the rules. I’m happy to answer any question the commission may have. Finally, I would like to know that the UFC has the championship fight for me in December in Las Vegas. I would hope the commission would grant me the license today, and I promise I will be ready for that fight.”
Chael Sonnen came in and said he was disgraced, but the commission showed him none of the respect they gave Belfort. He was even told he had a lot of nerve appearing. The members of the commission, including Dr. Trainor, took their time dissecting all the banned substances Sonnen had taken.
He was determined to have used a high amount of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) relatively close to his test, and his use of Clomifene was deemed an effort to hide his use of other performance-enhancing drugs. His use of hCG was not considered necessary for his prior explanation of fertility purposes, and his failure for EPO was viewed as purely for performance.
Sonnen offered up no resistance, simply offering the words:
“I have tremendous regreat and tremendous embarassment. I’m with the commission today. I am guilty.”
But Assistant AG Eccles wasn’t buying it, saying:
“You don’t get to stop one prohibited drug and start using five prohibited drugs. You’ve got to be kidding me that you’re sticking a needle in you with EPO and HGH and didn’t know it was prohibited.”
He then declared that a two-year suspension would be requested with any fines to be paid by a certain set date.
However, Commissioner Lundvall was not so harsh on Sonnen, noting that he had lost a lot already:
“He’s had strong punishment already, losing jobs at UFC and Fox. How much more do we beat this guy?”
Lundvall then suggested a one-year suspension with no fine, instead choosing to focus on implementing Sonnen as a future educator for drug testing in MMA.
Commissioner Bill Brady then voiced his friendship for Sonnen, but noted his career was over in Nevada:
“I like Chael Sonnen, I consider him a friend, he did something wrong here today…end of his career in Nevada.”
Commissioner Marnell was extremely harsh, recmmended a full lifetime ban:
“Don’t come back…we have been robbed from the truth from the beginning…attempt to cheat. I watched every frickin’ interview since it happened. It irks me. I can’t stand it.”
The NSAC ultimately settled on a two-year ban for Sonnen, who must reimburse the commission for all testing costs and work with them to improve drug testing and education in fighting.
And with that, the retired “American Gangster” shamefully rides off into the sunset. But have we seen the last of Chael P. Sonnen?