Chael Sonnen only did one interview following his hearing with the California State Athletic Commission, (which is said to have been set up for weeks) with HDNet’s Mike Straka which appeared on Friday’s episode of Inside MMA.
During the segment, Sonnen said that he basically paid the issue no mind as he was dealing with the much bigger issue of getting his name cleared in the real estate issue that forced him out of the Oregon State political race this year.
"A commission is a pretty small entity, but a commission has a lot of power over a guy like me. I hadn’t really dealt with this matter until today. I had a team of lawyers [do it for me]. I’ve been dealing with the federal government all the way dating back five years ago, which interfered with a campaign I had for public office," Sonnen explains. "That’s where my attention has been. I’m getting really close to reaching a deal with the federal government on that issue. That’s where my focus has been. The lawyers handled things and business went well today."
When asked by Straka how he intends to deal with those who don’t buy his story, Sonnen stated simply, that he doesn’t have any plans to entertain the notion that he cheated, regardless of who is asking about it.
"I don’t plan to deal with it at all. I don’t know really anybody that thinks I was on steroids and if they do I wouldn’t offer an explanation or an apology," he says. "The facts were the facts and that’s it. That was between me and the commission and we dealt with it."
Adamant that the whole steroid angle was perpetuated by the "online media," Sonnen, who says the connotation that he was using PEDs was irresponsible and that he understands where CSAC is coming from with upholding his fine and halving his suspension because regardless of his medical clearance, he did not let the commission doctor who conducted his pre-fight medicals in on the fact that he was taking a prescribed testosterone injections.
"I was found not guilty on the substance issue. You used the term "steroids" which is a pretty big catchword. It’s really not fair. With that said, testosterone falls under the category of steroids. But that’s like saying that mouthwash falls in the category of alcohol. Or cough syrup is alcohol. It’s not exactly the same thing and it’s not what we’re talking about. One is a medicine versus an illegal substance. I was never accused or suspected of [using] an illegal substance. That was an online rumor that was started and perpetuated and I never did anything to step in to stop it, but I was accused of taking testosterone without the proper disclosure," Chael points out. "Still to this moment, I don’t know what the proper disclosure they were looking for was. I walked straight up to the [CSAC] commissioner and told him, ‘This is what I’m on.’ When they put their case forward, I didn’t disagree with any of it. I went up and told him, ‘This is gonna test positive tomorrow. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to write it down?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, come here; let’s write it down. He came out and used it against me, like, ‘Chael even told me he was on something.’ Right, I told you. That’s what disclosure means. In the state of California, they don’t have a form that needs filled out. They don’t have anybody higher up to go to. They just simply use the word, ‘disclose,’ and that’s what we did."
Sonnen also clarified that he’s not the victim here and that he understands that when rules are broken, there must be consequences. He points out, though that there was lots of confusion on the side of CSAC and for that reason he should’ve been given benefit of the doubt that he had done what was necessary, despite having little physical proof that he was approved previous to UFC 117.
"I am not a victim here. I am not a martyr in any way and I appreciate the overwhelming support that’s coming in, but the rules are the rules and if I broke the rules then I should be punished. I believe in commissions and I believe in regulation. It’s not only good for the athletes; it’s good for the industry. That UFC will not go into a municipality that doesn’t have a governing body. I’m in support of that and they did not abuse me or mistreat me. They gave me a fair shake. I don’t like it because I don’t understand it," Sonnen says. "I don’t have any more clarity today on what it is they were looking for than I had yesterday or several months ago. They internally did not offer any suggestions. They themselves were a little bit confused on this issue as well. I thought that because they were confused, out of sportsmanship, they should have given me the benefit of the doubt. They should have taken the leap that if I am going to go right up to the head of the commission face-to-face to tell him what I have taken, then that is my attempt at disclosure. "
Sonnen also pointed out to Straka that the night before the fight with Silva was not the first time he told the commission that he was undergoing HRT and that there were at least three other occassions where he provided them with information on his treatment.
"I went to them in 2009 and received approval. It wasn’t simple. It wasn’t just a matter of telling them and they said ‘OK.’ I had to do some work. I had to get him paperwork, we had to fax them stuff and the doctor had to look after that and we were given approval. That approval is a lifetime approval. You don’t have to go back and redo it. I work with the Oregon State Commission and I know we are undermanned and overworked, so with that in mind I did go back to them in 2010 and that time I did it by email. I have an email response where they tell me, ‘OK.’ This was after the request of the results of five different blood tests, all of which I submitted. It was very sophisticated to get approval this time…I disclosed this to them in writing over a year ago. I disclosed this to their previous commissioner who was actually the interim commissioner between Armando Garcia and the sitting director, this medicine and received approval," Sonnen explains. "I then went up to the executive director and told him face-to-face, ‘This is in my system, and this is what will show up.’ We then grabbed a form and wrote it down with USADA, the testing agency. Then they pulled the carpet out from under me and said, ‘Geez, we didn’t know anything about it. Ultimately, today I was found guilty of not disclosing. I just told you four different ways that I did disclose. I’m not here to retry this on your show, but I am here to say I am a little bit confused. In hindsight I don’t know what I could have done differently."
Although he admits he didn’t follow all of the parameters that CSAC set out, Sonnen says he felt that having to keep jumping through the same hoops seems a bit asinine and likely needs to be fixed from an administrative standpoint by the governing body.
"There was never a non-disclosure from the boss. I went straight to the top, I told him and he approved it. There’s not a whole lot more I could do. There were several intermediate steps that we didn’t disclose on. I wouldn’t apologize for that, though," Sonnen asserts. "I feel that it’s very redundant to tell the boss and then state it five other times. They did get hung up on the fact that we didn’t write on certain forms, but those forms were filled out in a public setting right out in the open."