Chael Sonnen’s suspension was upheld by the California State Athletic Commission in a hearing yesterday with the motion passing with a vote of 4-1. CSAC Chair John Frierson, Dr. Christopher Giza, Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons, Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Thompson were the commissioners in attendance, while CSAC Executive Director George Dodd was also at the meeting. According to Sonnen, the suspension effectively ends his career in the UFC.
“If I don’t get my license today, I’m effectively retired. That came from the boss, Dana White,” Sonnen told ESPN’s Josh Gross yesterday.
Sonnen also confirmed during yesterday’s hearing that he would lose the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter 14 opposite Michael Bisping if the suspension wasn’t lifted. Sonnen was to face Bisping at the end of the season to determine the top contender for the UFC middleweight championship.
The CSAC cited Sonnen’s recent federal money-laundering conviction as well as his dubious testimony stemming from his positive result from his UFC 117 drug screen as the reasons for upholding the suspension. Sonnen will not be able to reapply for a license until June 29, 2012, however can once again appear before the CSAC if he chooses to do so.
Sonnen served a six-month suspension handed down by the CSAC for his improper disclosure of his usage of synthetic testosterone for testosterone replacement therapy. Shortly thereafter, Sonnen pled guilty in a federal money laundering case connected to mortgage fraud — he was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, two years of probation and was stripped of his real estate license.
Sonnen found himself in hot water with NSAC executive director Keith Kizer following his improper disclosure of his usage of synthetic testosterone for hormone replacement therapy to the California State Athletic Commission prior to his UFC 117 bout against champ Anderson Silva. Though the two regulating bodies are unrelated, Sonnen indicated during the ordeal that NSAC director Keith Kizer had previously approved his use of the hormone, which Kizer disputed.
“He said, ‘The Nevada State Athletic Commission told me not to declare the testosterone,'” Kizer stated on the witness stand. “That is a false statement. I never spoke to Mr. Sonnen before March 4, 2011.”
Sonnen’s attorney, Steven J. Thompson, stated that the interactions between Sonnen and Kizer actually took place between his manager, Matt Lindland, and the NSAC, and he had no intention of deliberately misleading the commission. Thompson attempted to allow a declaration from Lindland, however the commission would not allow it and stated that Lindland’s actions for Sonnen were irrelevant to the proceedings. Kizer did note that Lindland had disputed Sonnen’s statement at December’s hearing that Sonnen was told by Lindland that Kizer said to not disclose his use of testosterone to other commissions.
“The evidence reveals a portrait of someone who makes a lot of statements, and many of them are inconsistent,” said commissioner Chappelle. “Everyone deserves a second chance. The question is, how many second chances?”
Chair Frierson added, “I believe in second chances. Anybody who has worked with us knows that. But in this case, I’m saying to you, sir, that without asking any questions, it’s very hard for me to believe in your second chance.”
Sonnen last appeared in action at UFC 117 last August, where he lost via fifth round submission to middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
What are your thoughts on Sonnen’s suspension? Do you think it will hold? Do you think we’ll ever see Sonnen compete in the UFC again? Let us know your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.