As first broken by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, UFC fighter/FOX Sports analyst Chael Sonnen has been pulled from his scheduled UFC 175 fight against Vitor Belfort, after a random drug test administered last month in Las Vegas came back positive for a pair of unapproved hormone regulators.
Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar confirmed that Sonnen’s test showed the presence of Anastrozole and Clomiphene. Anastrozole is a non-steroidal estrogen-blocker used primarily to treat women following breast cancer surgery, as well as in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Clomiphene is an selective estrogen receptor commonly used as a fertility drug to induce ovulation, and is used to treat men who are coming off testosterone replacement therapy, as Sonnen was. Clomiphene is also the drug that jiu-jitsu champion Gabi Garcia was busted for following the 2013 BJJ World Championships.
According to ESPN, Sonnen likely faces a suspension, and is not expected to file an appeal. Sonnen is scheduled to address his drug-test failure today on FOX. We’ll keep you updated.
In a way, Chael’s removal from UFC 175 is the most appropriate end to the Sonnen vs. Belfort matchup, which was the the most drug-clouded booking imaginable. Essentially, you had a confirmed testosterone abuser facing a former steroid user (and confirmed testosterone abuser), because another fighter dodged a drug test, and now it’s dead, because of drugs.
From the information we have, it appears that Sonnen was trying to get his body’s testosterone production back to normal, and couldn’t quite do it without some extra help. (Perhaps getting off TRT cold-turkey and returning to fighting shape so quickly was an impossible task in the first place.) A forced time-out might be the best thing for Sonnen’s health at this point; then again, it could also signal the end of his career. The question is, will Vitor Belfort remain on the UFC 175 card? And if so, against who?