September 20, 2010

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com Chael Sonnen, despite losing in his bid to take the title from middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in Oakland, had earned the respect of many for taking Silva into deeper waters than any other fighter in the UFC before him.

Slightly over a month later and Sonnen finds himself in deep water, failing his drug test for performance enhancing substances.

California State Athletic Commission executive director George Dodd on Monday told SI.com’s Josh Gross that Sonnen tested positive for “well above normal levels of testosterone.”

He is within his rights to file an appeal, but is currently set to serve a one-year suspension accompanied by a $2,500 fine.

Sonnen dominated Silva for the better part of four-and-a-half rounds on Aug. 7, taking him down at will, grounding and pounding him. Like his nickname “The Spider” suggests, though, Silva pulled Sonnen into his web, submitting him with a triangle choke/armbar combination at the 3:10 mark of round five.

Sonnen had been expected to receive a rematch with Silva at the UFC’s annual Super Bowl weekend event in February, but barring a successful appeal, that fight is now off the table.

The winner between Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami at UFC 122 in November is slated to get a title shot in 2011, and will likely now take the place of Sonnen. It’s unclear, however, if that could happen as soon as Super Bowl weekend.