Chael Sonnen has never run from a fight. Neither has UFC president Dana White. But there’s one opponent that both have run into that is nearly insurmountable.
“You show me a guy who fought the government and won. Show me that guy. I want to meet him,” White said after Saturday night’s UFC 130. “I don’t want to be the next guy to try it. I do what I’m told.”
That opponent, the California State Athletic Commission in this instance, is the obstacle that is keeping Sonnen from taking advantage of what could be the apex of his fight career.
Despite losing to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in August, Sonnen’s career has never been at a higher point. He was closing in on an opportunity to boost his profile by coaching on “The Ultimate Fighter,” followed by a feature bout with Michael Bisping that, if he won, could propel him into a rematch for the belt around Silva’s waist.
But he’s being held at the crux of the climb to the top by what many fans and critiques now consider a witch-hunt.
Sonnen served out the suspension handed down by the CSAC in December – stemming from his use of testosterone to treat hypogonadism – which ended in March. He then went about trying to apply for a license to fight in Nevada. After a couple delays in Nevada, California made a determination to put Sonnen under an administrative suspension. The new suspension was, according to CSAC executive director George Dodd, due to concerns over Sonnen’s conviction of a Federal money laundering charge in Oregon and questionable statements he made in the December hearing about a conversation with Nevada officials that Dodd said could have influenced the CSAC commissioners.
In the end, during a hearing in May, Sonnen was ultimately kept on suspension until June 29, 2011.
What does he do now? Fight “the man?” What does the UFC do? Fight “the man” for him?
It’s unclear just where Sonnen will take the fight, but White made it clear what the UFC intends to do… honor the CSAC’s suspension.
They could take Sonnen to another state, or even outside the country, to either get him licensed by a commission that doesn’t care to honor California’s ruling or take him to a location where there is no commission oversight.
“Nope, we won’t let him fight anywhere. We’ll honor that suspension until it’s cleared up,” stated White.
“I think that Chael has paid his dues. Can you keep a guy from making a living for having a big mouth? He says dumb (expletive). He says stuff that doesn’t make sense sometimes,” he added. “(But) he’s gonna have to pay his dues and straighten his stuff out with these guys and then do it, even though I think that it’s wrong. I think what’s happened to him is wrong.”
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