Chael Sonnen Narrowly Averts Lance-Armstrong-Like Lifetime Ban for Failed Drug Tests

July 23, 2014
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Chael SonnenChael Sonnen on Wednesday received disciplinary sanctions from the Nevada Athletic Commission following two random drug tests that indicated a combined total of five banned substances in his system.

Sonnen received a two-year suspension alongside other punishments for his transgressions.

His transgressions stem from two random drug tests ordered by the NAC in relation to Sonnen’s proposed fight against Wanderlei Silva, which was changed to Vitor Belfort, on July 5 in Las Vegas.

The first drug test was administered on May 24 in Las Vegas, the second on June 5 in Portland, Ore., resulting in the illumination of five banned substances: anastrozole, clomifene, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), human growth hormone (hGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).

Sonnen did not argue the results of the tests or the details surrounding them.

“I don’t want to say anything that comes off as an excuse, because I’m guilty. I’m ashamed,” said Sonnen during the hearing.

The commissioners weren’t inclined to excuse Sonnen’s transgressions either, even though he has already been fired both by the UFC for his fighting contract and FOX for his broadcasting contract.

One commissioner, Anthony Marnell, proposed a Lance-Armstrong-like lifetime ban. At the other end of the spectrum, commissioner Pat Lundvall initially proposed a one-year timeframe. In the end, however, the commission as a whole supported a two-year suspension, which included Sonnen’s agreement that he would not seek a license to fight in any other jurisdiction during that time.

In addition to the two-year suspension, Sonnen also must reimburse the NAC for it’s expenses related to the drug tests. Those expenses included the travel cost for Dr. Daniel Eichner, the Director of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, who was an expert witness called by Nevada. The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory is a WADA accredited lab in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The commission also included enlisting Sonnen for the period of one year to help educate both the commission and other fighters on matters related to performance enhancing drugs.

The NAC commissioners voted unanimously in support of the motion crafted by commissioner Lundvall.

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  • El Gvapo

    Do any of his previous fights get ruled a no contest?

    • No. This was testing done (technically) outside of competition, so it doesn’t directly relate to one particular fight or another that took place. They won’t be changing any results because of it.

      • El Gvapo

        But it’s a safe assumption that he wasn’t clean for most of his previous fights.

        • Kyle Allen

          making decisions on assumptions would set a bad precedent because not everyones opinions are the same.

          • Mark d.

            he is a Lying felon who has tested hot before and all of the places he fought did not random test for the roids he was pumping in his butt. Epo is out of his system in a week so I think it is safe to assume that he never stopped the juice. The more aggressive randomized tests are finally catching the cheaters.

          • Sir_Roy

            Sorry to burst the bubble, but a majority of top tier athletes are using banned substances. You need to to compete in this day and age.

            I mean, let’s not be naive.

            Athletes at the upper echelon are monitored and know when to cycle in and cycle out during competition wherein most of the random tests occur. Sonnen got caught with his pants down. Silva just plain ran away.

          • AXE MURDERER

            Run today, Fight tomorrow, I always say!

          • El Gvapo

            There are no decisions to be made though. I wasn’t actually suggesting any previous fights be declared a NC, was just keen to understand if there was a process in place.

        • Muaythai4life

          Plus they tested him for a lot of his previous fights, and all of the one post Anderson Silva I. So it might not be safe to assume what you are assuming.

          • El Gvapo

            But it probably is though. An assumption is something that is probable by definition. He’s been caught before and now he’s been caught again. I think it’s naive to think these two instances were the only ones.

  • WhereIsHomefront2?

    No lifetime ban? Then they’re still not serious about stopping cheating in this sport. Absurd.

    • There was one commissioner, Anthony Marnell, who really wanted to see it be a lifetime ban. He’s new to the commission, but is a breath of fresh air. He seems to speak his mind and not worry about backlash or pleasing others.

  • TheCerealKiller

    If I were him, I would go over to Europe and Japan and take as many fights as he could just to flip the bird at the Nevada Athletic Commission!

  • Yannick Messaoud

    And in 2 years he is gonna push 40 so is career is over even then still lucky to get away with that sentence after all theses drugs in the body.

  • blob

    I remember what he said about Lance Armstrong, knowing he was using as well at that time makes him even more mentally sick.

    • El Gvapo

      Agreed. It’s the brazen hypocrisy of the man.

  • Scooby

    There should be a fight promotion that allows the use of any drug the fighters want. Imagine two heavyweights drunk, on LSD and Angel Dust. I’d pay to see that!


    SHALE I Waiting for jew , in 2 years you will die!

  • Mark McDowall

    If this was handled in almost any other state I bet he would have gotten a life time ban. The NSAC is in the UFC’s back pocket…and I am willing to bet anything that 2 years from now we see Sonnen in the UFC again…he retired thinking he will get away with it…but it…didn’t really blow up in his face…more like made a loud poof in his face.

  • julian moran

    What does a suspension matter for if he retired?