Nevada State Athletic Commission suspends Chael Sonnen

Elias Cepeda
Chael Sonnen Admits ‘I Knew What I Was Doing; I Tried to Game the System'
Chael Sonnen Admits ‘I Knew What I Was Doing; I Tried to Game the System'

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voted unanimously at a meeting Tuesday to temporarily suspend retired former three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen for a failed surprise drug test in May. Sonnen was set to face Wanderlei Silva July 5 in Las Vegas when the NSAC decided to surprise both he and Silva with tests.

Silva refused testing and Sonnen failed his, testing positive for banned anti-estrogenic drugs Anastrozole and Clomiphene. Sonnen and his doctors claim that he has hypogonadism, and is unable to naturally produce enough testosterone to remain healthy, without treatments and drugs, like Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).

Sonnen was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) in 2010 after failing a post-fight drug test after his first fight against Anderson Silva. Sonnen then had his sentence reduced by evidently lying to the commission during his hearing about being given tacit approval by state regulators to use TRT. Sonnen was later suspended again by the CSAC on suspicion of perjury.

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Sonnen was later granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to undergo TRT by the NSAC. Recently, however, TUEs for TRT were effectively stopped altogether in MMA and fighters like Sonnen were left to find other options to replace TRT.

Sonnen chose to substitute the banned anti-estrogenic drugs Anastrozole and Clomiphene for the now-banned TRT. Sonnen has said that he thought the drugs would be out of his system by the time he was tested but his timing was off and he failed the late May drug test.

Sonnen was then removed from the UFC 175 card altogether (the UFC had hoped to have him face Vitor Belfort). Sonnen then retired from MMA, saying that he needed the banned but certainly not illegal treatments he was undergoing to ensure his health and his reproductive abilities. The retired fighter is reportedly expected to make his case at a full NSAC hearing later this year at a still unscheduled NSAC meeting.

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