TMZ.com is reporting that the UFC has suspended Chael Sonnen in wake of the money laundering scandal that we reported earlier today. UFC president Dana White told the gossip site that Sonnen’s contract has been temporarily “frozen.”
“Chael Sonnen has gone through a lot in the last few months and we think it’s important for him to focus on getting his personal life together before focusing on his career in the UFC,” said White.
“I spoke with Chael earlier today and he agrees that setting priorities in his life is the best thing for him right now. I sincerely hope Chael is able to straighten out his personal life.”
According to multiple sources, including a press release issued by the United States Department of Justice, Sonnen pled guilty yesterday to one count of money laundering in federal court. Sonnen, a realtor stationed in West Linn, Oregon, apparently secured a $69,000 loan from a subprime lending firm in 2006 under the pretense that a certain property awaiting sale was in need of plumbing repairs. The lending firm, Decision One Mortgage, issued the loan, unaware that Sonnen and his associates had made a deal with the plumbing company to give the buyers of the home some $65,000 of that money as a buying incentive.
Sonnen could receive up to two years in prison and a $500,000 fine as a result of his actions, but The Oregonian is reporting that the government is only pushing for Sonnen to serve two years of probation.
The outspoken fighter was once a political hopeful for the state of Oregon, running for the Oregon House District 37, even winning the Republican primary for that race. He dropped out mid-race, issuing a statement to Fight! magazine briefly addressing his coming legal issues.
“A 2006 legal issue has arisen that needs my immediate attention,” Sonnen wrote. “I am not at liberty to disclose the details, but my name was involved in a real estate case that requires a ruling. If the ruling is adverse, I would be disqualified from running for office until 2011.”
Sonnen’s sentencing is set for March 28th; he has already agreed to relinquish his realtor’s license in addition to paying a $10,000 fine. We had reported earlier that a middleweight match up between Sonnen and Yoshihiro Akiyama was being worked towards for UFC 128, however that fight is apparently out the window.