While nearly everyone has been focused on Wanderlei Silva’s purported “running from drug testing” and Vitor Belfort’s June 17 hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to try and get licensed, all eyes are now shifting to Chael Sonnen, who has tested positive for two banned substances.
The positive results stem from a random drug test that Sonnen took when he was in Las Vegas on May 23 for a UFC 175 promotional press conference. MMAWeekly.com independently confirmed the breaking news following an initial report from ESPN.
The two substances that Sonnen tested positive for are Anastrozole and Clomifene, which can both be used to treat symptoms related to hypogonadism, a condition for which Sonnen used to utilize a testosterone replacement therapy regimen.
Exemptions for TRT usage in combat sports athletes, however, was banned by the NSAC in February.
The positive drug test result is likely to place Sonnen on suspension and puts him out of his intended July 5 bout against Vitor Belfort, which seems ironic after he heavily criticized his original opponent, Wanderlei Silva, for supposedly running away from random drug testing.
“Wanderlei has operated his entire career under the shadow of suspicion that he was using performance-enhancing drugs. However, he has never failed a drug test, so we don’t speculate on those types of things,” Sonnen said on UFC Tonight recently. “That clean record came to a screeching halt. Not only did he fail his test, he refused to take the test. And as you know, a refusal is equal in the eyes of the commission to a failure.
“He ran from the test … and I don’t mean that figuratively; I mean they came to his gym and he literally ran.”
Sonnen is now forced to shift his focus away from Silva and delve deep into his own future. Even if the substances he tested positive for were to treat his hypogonadism, they are banned substances and he’s not likely to find any easy path out of this situation.
In fact, in referencing Sonnen’s own comments when TRT was initially banned, he may have no other choice but to stop fighting.
“I’ve had to stop testosterone with the hope that we can find a new way to gain results of upping testosterone and staying at a healthy level,” Sonnen said on UFC Tonight when the ban was handed down. “If it doesn’t work, I may have to stop the sport and it’s as simple as that.”
Anastrozole and Clomifene are both substances that aid in Sonnen’s treatment for hypogonadism. But even if they only serve to counter his hypogonadism and help his body to put his testosterone level in a normal range, the substances are banned in combat sports, and are thus illegal for him to utilize.
“What we do know is testosterone is out,” Sonnen said. “You can’t use it any more. We’re not talking about illegal substances here. We’re talking about perfectly legal things, but that doesn’t mean you can do it in sport.
“You have a license to fight. A person in this country can consume alcohol if they’re over 21 years of age. That doesn’t mean they can drive a car. And if they do those two things, they will have their license pulled because it’s a privileged license.
“If this retires guys then it retires guys. The rules are the rules.”
UFC officials told MMAWeekly.com, “Chael will address the situation at 3 p.m. PT on Fox Sports 1.”