Chael Sonnen Addresses Testing Positive to Banned Substances: “I Took Them”

June 10, 2014
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Chael Sonnen UFC 167 Presser-478x270The news broke on Tuesday that UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen tested positive for banned substances on a drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and was out of UFC 175. Sonnen appeared on the Jay Mohr Sports podcast Tuesday afternoon explaining what he tested positive for and why he was on the substances.

“They changed the ruling in Nevada. Earlier this year they did away with what is known as TRT, testosterone replacement therapy. And I was on that. So when they changed the rule we all had to go through a transition phase. For me, for the transition, you have to take a couple of things. One is called clomiphene. Another one is called hCG, so this is what we did. I took my oars out of the water in the meantime, meaning I didn’t fight. I didn’t ask for a license. You had to wait and cross this bridge if you will,” explained Sonnen.

“In the interim, they did a test. I tested positive for these things, which I should have. I took them. They were in my system. That wasn’t a surprise. These aren’t anabolics. These aren’t steroids. These aren’t performance-enhancers, none of the bad stuff. But they have deemed that they’re banned substances. What’s interesting in my case is we’re out of competition. These aren’t things that I showed up with on game day. This is out of competition due to a rule that they changed. This is kind of an odd spot for me. But that’s what happened. That’s what they’ve done,” he added.

The 37-year-old now has to attend a hearing to address the failed test, and he isn’t sure how the commission is going to deal with the situation.

“What happens is they do out-of-competition testing, and the lab that they went to is the USADA lab. USADA is the greatest lab in the world and it’s a very sensitive test. We had done our own tests at our own labs and we thought everything was out of the system,” said Sonnen.

“Now, these were not secrets that I took these substances. This is just what you have to take if you’re coming off testosterone. But at any rate, it was picked up on their tests. Now, they can handle that however they want. They can look at it and go, ‘yeah, it makes sense to us,’ or they could say, ‘you know what, we don’t like this.’ They could do either one. They’re the commission. I’ve just got to be a reactor and live with it. The confusing part is that they’re non-anabolic, non-steroid, non-performance-enhancing agents that are perfectly legal and that I need for a healthy life. Essentially they’re saying, ‘look, you’ve got to choose between health and sport.’”

Sonnen has been open about having to transition off of TRT. While speaking on the TRT ban in March, Sonnen admitted that he could have to walk away from fighting due to the ban.

“It’s very tough for me too because I was very upfront about this, did a number of interviews talking about what I’ve done. Whether it was on UFC Tonight… I did one in Canada. I did one in the U.K. I did one in Brazil. I couldn’t have told any more people. So when this came back and they said, ‘hey, why did this come back in your system?’ I said, ‘why is it in my system? Because I took it. I’ve been taking it. And I had to take it because you guys changed the rule. I did feel a little bit frustrated in that regard,” he said. “And they may listen to me. They may agree with me. But the way this works is I now have to go to a hearing. That hearing gets kicked down the road who knows how many days. I have a fight in 30 days. There’s no way the hearing will be before then.”

Sonnen maintains that he was not trying to break any rules and that he was simply doing what he had to do in order to remain healthy while coming off TRT.

“We’re not looking to do anything underhanded here, but there is a little bit of confusion on the rules. It’s kind of tough when you’re going, ‘Oh really? This is a banned substance?’ Well, where do we find that? Who exactly do we go to for clarity on this,” he questioned. “There is a clear distinction between game day and out of competition testing. Now you can never take an anabolic steroid or anything. I understand all these things. This is not an anabolic. This is not a steroid. These are just the substances I had to go to to transition.”

The recently married Sonnen also revealed that he and his wife are having difficultly conceiving and that also contributed to why he was on the drugs he was taking.

“This is a very private part of my life I wasn’t planning on sharing with anybody, but I’m having fertility issues. My wife and I are,” he said.

Sonnen could face a suspension, a fine, a combination of the two or other disciplinary action by the commission. He insists that he wasn’t trying to break any rules and that this is all simply a matter of a misunderstanding in the post-TRT era.

“I support the rules. We’re not really complaining here as much as this is just a little bit of confusion,” he said.

Chael Sonnen Failed Drug Test Coverage:

Chael Sonnen Fails Random UFC 175 Drug Test

Chael Sonnen Admitted to Taking a Third Banned Substance After Initial Test Failure Revealed Two

Chael Sonnen Explains Failed UFC 175 Drug Test on Jay Mohr Sports Show

Chael Sonnen Addresses Testing Positive to Banned Substances: “I Took Them”

UFC President Dana White Not Shocked by Chael Sonnen’s Failed Drug Test

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  • julian moran

    Where are all the Wanderlei Silva haters, I am surprised they are not hating on Chael as well.

    • Pick A Name

      Chael didn’t run. When Wanderlei did, it went from being a simple misunderstanding to something more sinister.

      • The guy above this is a morom

        Was you there? Or just going off of what you was told by Sonnen on tv? Fire him. Hypocrite

        • Darin

          What is a “morom”?

          • Devon_Nullman

            Write it backwards………..

          • MuayThaiFood

            It’s kinda like a Mormon, only dumber.

  • smedrano0206

    Chael’s glass house just got smashed!

  • Christina

    Dana should fire Silva and Sonnen. Be done with these two.

  • TKDGuy

    I think what he says about needing to transition off the TRT makes sense. In that respect, it could be said he tood these substances in order to comply with the new rule. HOWEVER, it raises questions too. Is he “out of competition” if he is in a training camp to fight in a month? Will it be completely out of his system by game day?

    • MuayThaiFood

      Then you don’t accept a fight while you are transitioning. It’s not as if the commission forced him to fight.

  • TheCerealKiller

    All these old guys trying to hold on to their youth makes my head hurt. I’m tired of the excuses. You broke the rules, cut him!

    • johnnywrong

      You don’t have to be “old” to require testosterone replacement. If there’s any justice you’ll find that out first-hand.

      • Darin

        Correct. I doubt age has anything to do with Sonnen’s TRT. It’s much more likely a result of his body’s lack of testosterone production due to steroid use when he was younger.

        • TheCerealKiller

          I get that, both of you. I’m 39 and I don’t wish it on anyone. My point is these older guys won’t let it go. Most cheated earlier on in their lives and now they try even harder to cheat just to stick around. Compete with what you have, or you’re not not truly competing.

        • Brent

          Or like a lot of males, myself included, the body stops producing testosterone at the level it used to. I’m on TRT and I’m 42. I’m not an athlete or a steroid user. Do some research and you’ll find these things easily.

          • Darin

            Gee, you know why your body produces less testosterone? Because YOU’RE 42! You mean you can’t physically do the same stuff you could when you were 22? No kidding! This is just like 80 year olds taking viagra so they can screw. You’re 80, you aren’t supposed to be horny, nature has dictated that you are too old to be reproducing. Should they make a drug so women in their 70s can still get pregnant??

            This is the sad state of the world today. Drug companies have everyone convinced that they have a “condition” that requires treatment, mainly by purchasing and using drugs. Leave nature alone, it works just fine by itself.

  • ronald

    to old to fight,retire!!!

  • MuayThaiFood

    How could it be any more clear? It’s banned so you don’t accept a fight or apply for a license until you can be clean. If you can’t then you retire. Chael wasn’t worried about the new rules because he has always played by his own whether inside or outside the ring which is why he has a felony conviction for money laundering.

  • Big Alpha

    a lot of these athletes dont really need TRT… even if they used steroids earlier in their careers and life to get an edge to compete… they just use the I need TRT so that they can keep using it to help with muscle mass and recovery… its VERY VERY easy to manipulate your levels so that any test/dr will say YEAH YOU NEED TRT… then they un-manipulate their body and could be right back to normal…but they just want that mental and physical edge that TRT provides so they do what they gotta do to get it subscribed to them… the clomid and arimidex are 100% needed to come off TRT properly and not have a HUGE drop off… so the commission should have said hey all you guys that have TRT exemptions you have a 6 month transition phase where you can take xy and z substances to help your body back to “normal” and then you cant take them anymore if you wanna fight… if your levels are still not back to normal after 6 months of this x y z therapy, then you can take a leave of absence from fighting (become unlicensed and no fights etc) and come back to apply whenever you want (aka when your levels get back to normal).. the commission should have known you cannot just stop cold turkey from TRT… you gotta take certain things and for a certain time frame to give your body a boost to get back to normal at producing its own testosterone…

    personally I just wish they would let them all be juiced to the gills… like the old days of the UFC and Pride… man those were the days… guys always came in great shape ready to bang it out… not any more… they mostly all look like over trained skinny long distance runners

  • chris

    all i got to say what a fool and i hope ufc does not allow him to commentary any more too. they need to make example out of him. and let other ufc fighters know that this stuff will not be tolerated