UFC middleweight and Fox Sports analyst Chael Sonnen plans to appeal his failed drug test at a future hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The 37-year-old UFC veteran tested positive for the banned substances anastrozole and clomiphene. He was using the drugs to transition off of testosterone replacement therapy. The premise of Sonnen’s argument is that there’s a distinction between out-of-competition and in-competition drug testing.
“This was out-of-competition. An athlete does not have to remain off medication 365 days a year. Not in the NCAA, not in the IOC, and not even with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. This is unprecedented,” Sonnen said during an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s America’s Pregame on Tuesday.
“As an athlete, if I break my arm and the doctor gives me Vicodin, Vicodin is extremely illegal on fight night. But it’s also an extremely appropriate medicine to cure someone’s pain if he has a broken arm. And the message they’re sending here is completely wrong,” he added.
Athletes can submit disclosure forms alerting the commission of any medications they’re on prior to the administration of a test, but Sonnen insists that for the first time in his career there wasn’t a disclosure form. He also admitted that he knew he was going to fail the test, but reiterated that there’s a difference between out-of-competition drug tests and the ones on fight night.
“On game day, you have to come in right. But out-of-competition an athlete cannot take a performance-enhancer and he cannot take a steroid. The former executive director (Keith Kizer) has many quotes out there that I will download and I will bring in to the commission when I appeal this thing stating that there is a significant difference between game day and the other 364 days a year,” he said about his planned appeal.
“Ibuprofen is banned. We can look at the 2012 Olympic games where they took the Gold Medal from the all-around gymnast, the Romanian girl. They took it from her for having a billionth of a trace of ibuprofen. Caffeine is banned. At 6 a.m. every morning, every morning, I’m at the local coffee house buying an espresso. That gets out of my system in 15 minutes, but if they were to test me I’d test positive for caffeine,” said Sonnen while stating his case.
“Marijuana is legal. I’m not an advocate of marijuana, but it is now a legal substance in many different states we have. If any one of those had showed up, I would not be having this conversation because they know what those are. They look at it and go, ‘oh, he’s on caffeine. Oh, he’s on ibuprofen.’ It would go away. They don’t know what these are. And therefore, who gets punished? I get punished. They shouldn’t even be asking me. They should be asking their doctor and say, ‘do you agree with this treatment,” he said.
A complete list of in-competition and out-of-competition prohibited substances can be found on several websites including those of the World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the organization that oversaw the processing of Sonnen’s sample.
According to the WADA prohibited substances list, both of the substances that Sonnen tested positive for, anastrozole and clomiphene, are classified as Hormone and Metabolic Modulators that are prohibited in and out of competition. Human chorionic gonadotropin, a third substance that Sonnen voluntarily admitted taking, is also listed as a prohibited substance both in and out of competition.