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

July 23, 2014

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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