Sherdog.com recently reported on Sunday that number one UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen had failed his UFC 117 drug test for performance enhancing drugs. The outspoken Oregonian is looking at up to a year-long suspension and a $2,500 fine, not to mention the irreparable damage done to his reputation. There are many details still missing (or as yet unreleased) in the story and Sonnen himself has yet to release a statement regarding the matter but Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole spoke with UFC President Dana White today to capture his take on the situation and figure out what he plans to do about the situation which, it turns out, isn’t much.
“What else do I do?” White said. “We’ve spent millions of dollars – literally, millions of dollars – to try to get this thing regulated so they can be tested by the government. Do you know how much it costs us to put on that fighter seminar every year? Let me tell you, we’re bringing guys in from all over the world. We have guys from England, Germany, Croatia, Australia, Korea. We have 350 guys under contract and they’re coming from all over the world. It costs us a [expletive] ton, but we do it because it’s important.”
White is referring to the annual seminar that the UFC holds every year in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency that details the dangers and long-term effects of steroid or other performance enhancing drug use in hopes of deterring the use of such substances. White feels that beyond making his stance on the subject known and providing as much education as possible, there is not much he can do that will not already have been done by the government and its regulating bodies.
“When one of them fails a test, the government is going to fine them and suspend them and tell them they can’t make a living for a year,” said White. “So should I come in after they’ve already lost the ability to make a living for a year and been fined all this money and, in the worst economic disaster in the history of the world, fine them another huge amount and take away their ability to make a living even longer?”
The normally ruthless UFC figurehead told Iole that he has a hard time levying more punishment against guys who are really just trying to make a living and are already sure to suffer not only the official consequences of steroid use, but also the loss of respect and admiration by both peers and fans that is sure to follow such a revelation.
“These are guys with homes and families and personal lives and bills and debts and obligations, just like me and you,” White said. “After they lost all this money already, money that, A, they’ve probably already spent and B, which they owe taxes, do I fine them another huge amount? What else do you do to a human being?”
The particular drug with which Sonnen was caught using has not been revealed and has only been confirmed as being a drug of the performance enhancing variety. More details are expected to be released later today and only then will we begin to get a picture of exactly what the future holds for Sonnen.