Steve Cofield

Reports emerge that Sonnen failed his UFC 117 drug test

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

Chael Sonnen had a career-defining performance in his challenge for the middleweight title at UFC 117 on Aug. 7 in Oakland, Calif. He came within two minutes of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history against Anderson Silva, winning the first four rounds until being submitted at 3:10 of the fifth at Oracle Arena.

That feel-good story may be just about all wiped out by the news that Sonnen failed his post-fight drug test, according to a report on Sherdog.com. George Dodd, executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, told Sherdog's Greg Savage on Saturday that Sonnen had failed his post-fight urinalysis.

"(Sonnen) received his notice yesterday," Dodd told Sherdog.com shortly after the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora boxing match ended Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Dodd didn't specify what substance Sonnen had tested positive for, but he said that all fighters on the card passed the tests for drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and marijuana, so the assumption is that Sonnen's failed test involves a performance-enhancing drug. Dodd told Savage the rest of the UFC 117 fighters tested were cleared.

[Related: Key MMA fight ends in disappointment all around]

MMA Junkie.com pointed out that there had been some message board chatter about Sonnen's appearance at UFC 117. For the Silva fight (weigh-in photo) and his fight at UFC 109 (weigh-in photo) against Nate Marquardt, Sonnen had an unusual amount of back acne. The scarring wasn't present in his previous fight at UFC 104 against Yushin Okami (weigh-in photo). "Backne" is one of the numerous side effects of steroid usage, though Dr. Johnny Benjamin, a medical consultant for MMA Junkie, also pointed out that there are other causes of the acne issue.

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Sonnen was tentatively scheduled to face Silva in a rematch in early 2011. If the report is true, expect at least a nine-month suspension to be handed down by California. If Sonnen accepts the penalty and doesn't appeal, he could be back in the Octagon by June.

That means someone will get a chance to stand-in for a title shot against Silva. Nate Marquardt beat Rousimar Palhares this week to put himself back in the mix. With a win over Okami at UFC 122 in November, Vitor Belfort, scheduled on several occasions to face Silva in the past, could also be a candidate.

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