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Chael Sonnen’s MMA Career in Jeopardy After CSAC Upholds Indefinite Suspension

(Very somber courtroom photo via MMAWeekly)

Following a two-hour hearing in Los Angeles, California State Athletic Commission officials voted 4-1 to uphold their indefinite suspension of Chael Sonnen, citing that the false statements he made about the authorization of his testosterone therapy as well as his money laundering conviction in Oregon did in fact constitute “discredit to MMA.” He will not be re-licensed at this point, which will effectively keep his MMA career on ice until his license expires on June 29th. After that, he’ll be free to apply elsewhere, but since he’ll be on an MMA commission watch list, he may encounter further difficulties trying to return to competition.

ESPN’s Josh Gross and MMA Junkie’s Steven Marrocco were on the scene at the Ronald Reagan State Office Building, and provided updates through the proceedings. Here’s a quick rundown:

- Sonnen did his best to shift blame about his testosterone therapy statements, saying Matt Lindland informed him that he was cleared for TRT in Nevada and California. Sonnen admitted that he never had a conversation with the NSAC’s Keith Kizer about it, and never intended to make it sound like he did.

- Kizer testified that he had a conversation with Matt Lindland in 2008 about a therapeutic use exemption, but Sonnen’s name wasn’t brought up specifically. Kizer pointed out a false statement in a previous declaration from Sonnen, in which he said that the NSAC told him not to declare testosterone injections in his pre-fight medical questionnaire.

- Sonnen became emotional while giving testimony about his fighting career. His eyes welled up as he discussed the opportunities he’d be missing out on if he wasn’t re-licensed, including a “once in a lifetime” coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter, which could lead to a title shot if he beat his rival coach (Michael Bisping). “If I don’t get my license today I’m effectively retired,” Sonnen said. “That came from the boss, Dana White…I worked for this chance my whole life. I don’t want to retire today.”

- Sonnen said he’s still monitored for testosterone therapy twice a month, and needs it for his “survival.” He claimed to have “the testosterone of a 93-year-old man.”

- Members of the commission were not so easily charmed this time. Dean of the commission John Frierson: “It’s very hard for me to believe in your second chance.” Deputy DA Karen Chappelle: “[Sonnen] always has someone else to blame…I don’t know how you can ever trust him.” Commissioner Christopher Giza: Sonnen has given contradictory statements that call into question his truthfulness and rehabilitation.

- CSAC official George Dodd said that no athlete under his watch had ever been suspended for white-collar crime.

- Sonnen’s legal team attempted to enter a statement from Lindland, who’s currently in Poland, but it wasn’t allowed.

- In the beginning of his closing statement, Sonnen’s lawyer Steve Thompson described Sonnen as a “fundamentally good person.”

- There was a “public comments” portion of the hearing in which Sonnen’s own mother — who was involved in that mortgage fraud, don’t forget — spoke on his behalf, saying that Chael needs testosterone just to get out of bed in the morning. This girl also spoke on behalf of Sonnen, for some reason, as well as Sonnen’s lawyer Raffi Nahabedian.

- The commission voted 4-1 to uphold Sonnen’s indefinite suspension. The lone dissenting vote was Anthony Thompson, who wasn’t on the CSAC commission during Sonnen’s first hearing in December.

As a post-script, we’ll leave you with this tweet from Michael Bisping: “Gutted for chael sonnen, people make mistakes. He paid his dues and should be allowed to continue with his career. Real shame for the guy.”

Agree or disagree?


Cagepotato Comments

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torxxx- May 19, 2011 at 10:29 am
jesus christ let him fight.. One of the few to actually challenge Andersen...

Tito pulled 10x more bullshit and kept fighting
Stak40- May 19, 2011 at 9:18 am
That RWil I can dig and agree with.
budsellers- May 19, 2011 at 8:47 am
make him an announcer, he is already the jesse ventura of mma.
RwilsonR- May 19, 2011 at 7:44 am
@ stak
I guess I'd have less of a problem with the commission in this case if they didn't throw in crap about Sonnen's real estate stuff discrediting the sport. If they focused only on the lies, that would be one thing. But the discretion given to them in deciding what constitutes bringing discredit to the sport is too much. It also makes it look like they are trying to use any and all means to get him specifically. Their selective use of that criteria (when was the last time you saw them use that against someone else) makes this feel personal, and it should not be personal. There should be clear rules, clear punishments, and clear reinstatements of his license after punishments are served. The only people with discretion to keep Chael from fighting based on bringing discredit to the sport should be his employer, the UFC.
Btw, I'm also against the reduced sentence he got. If you break a rule and fight it, you shouldn't be given six months instead of the usual year. You either prove you didn't break the rule, and the commission should waive all penalties and reinstate you, or they should say you didn't prove anything beyond our tests saying you broke that rule, so your original suspension stands. None of this BS about shortening the suspension just because you decided to show up and argue.
Stak40- May 19, 2011 at 6:46 am

I typically find most of your comments logical and sound, whether i agree with them or not. On this particular thread my friend, I say booboo on you!

To the rest who seem to have an issue with any and all types of governing bodies, i say booboo on you too.

A lot of yall either need to get off Sonnen's dick or accept the fact that without some overlying regulatory presence shit would be even more fucked up.

I don't necessarily agree with all ruling of CSAC but when go in front of them and lie, and then lie about lying, then I have no sympathy if the CSAC tells you to fuck off and try again.
Dagnut- May 19, 2011 at 4:57 am
I'd actually like to see him back, so he get beaten again to finally silence his stupid fans.
fatbellyfrank- May 19, 2011 at 1:03 am
To all in the fuck Sonnen, you reap what you sow camp, i say amen to that, hes a fucken asswipe who thought he was above the laws and regulations in both area's he made a living from, and now the regulatory bodies have said, had enough of your bullshit son, you treated us with contempt, now you can deal with the consequences. Just ask dickhead Koppenhaver how it all works
WK- May 19, 2011 at 12:07 am
And your new DREAM Middleweight champion is..
RwilsonR- May 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm
bitteralex says:
"you try to deceive the very people that let you do what you do and then think you can get away with it with even more lies… you get what you deserve…"
That's the problem - the commissions shouldn't be in a position to let you do a damn thing. They should be there to verify the safety and integrity of the sport, and nothing else. They shouldn't be involved in determining who gets to fight beyond who is medically fit and capable of fairly defending themselves, and determining violations to the integrity of the sport should be limited only to things that affect the sport - rule violations, PED abuse, worked fights, etc. That should be the extent of the power given to an oversight body. The broad discretion they have is absolute bullshit.
honkey_kong- May 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm
This is garbage. It has the feel of that part in NBA games where the refs take over all the action and call fouls on both ends of the floor no matter what. No one is paying to see CSAC and no one cares what they think about this petty shit.
bitteralex- May 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm
I'm confused.. r u talking about his fraud case? he wasn't suspended for that or rather not solely for that.. he was suspended for the statements he made in his previous csac hearing... he perjured himself under oath... that's illegal.. if the csac wants they can bring criminal charges on sonnen... well this is my understanding of the situation... and considering his fine and suspension were based on his statements under oath... well then they're free to do what they want
NinjaNerd8- May 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm
Exactly how is it legal to bar a man from the sport for a crime he committed but for which he has already been punished? He paid the fine, he's serving the probation, the punishment has been given this is the end of that story. It's not within the rights of the CSAC to revive that and use it as a reason to uphold the suspension.

These athletic commissions are corrupt, stagnant bureaucracies and something MUST be done to stop them.
warchief65- May 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Didn't Sonnen have a scipt from his doctor ? i MEAN , THAT'S THE LAW ISN'T IT ? But then again , isn't the CSAC strip Ali of one of his belts for NOT fighting for Uncle Sam in Nam ? Come on ! who are they trying to rape like that French dude did ? I tell you one thing , don't buy anything from that state .FREE SONNEN !!!
rampageisgod- May 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm
Fail deserves this. Talk shit, get hit. Isn't that what the kids say, nowadays?
bitteralex- May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm
I'm glad he's still suspended... Kizer didn't call him a liar and a fraud... but i'm more than willing to call him that...
you try to deceive the very people that let you do what you do and then think you can get away with it with even more lies... you get what you deserve...
lets not forget when sonnen was busted for steroids he had over 4 times the limit for failing... 4x...

I freely admit that I hate sonnen... so much shit spews from his mouth and now he reaps what he sows
Peppered 2 Death- May 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm
I am not sure anybody is sticking up for Chael as much as they think having Chael around makes for a more entertaining UFC. He got caught, served his time and now should be allowed to continue on like every other person who has gotten caught. Since his fight against Silva when has their been as exciting of a Main Event? Kampmann vs Sanchez or Edgar vs Maynard but even those two werent nearly as good in my opinion.
mtnthc- May 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Chael Sonnen's Balls,

Shouldn't that be?

"I hate myself, I hate myself."
just some dong- May 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm
As usual, it really doesn't matter what any of us think. The CSAC fucking hates Chael Sonnen. And they have plenty of good reason. His fighting career is over.
djp1988- May 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm
Anyone willing to put money down that Chael Sonnen will appear in the WWE within the next year?
MKO- May 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Are ya'll people smoking retard?
The man lied, continually, to his regulating committee. He has changed his story multiple times. His best bet would just be to come forward, admit that:
1. I did not tell the commission about my use of a therapeutic testosterone replacement
2. I knowingly took more than the doctor's prescribed dosage of synthetic testosterone
3. I was involved in illegal activities in my real estate career and have plead guilty to such
4. I lied to multiple athletic commissions
5. I take full responsibility for my actions

All these people boo-hooing that they are taking away his livelihood apparently know nothing of consequences.
Kid Clam Curtains- May 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm
Can't fight. Can't sell homes. Can't run for office. Can't ever work in the financial sector. Can he be a wrestling coach? I'm serious. Are there any jobs he can get now that don't involve sweating over a griddle or cleaning something? He's too small to be a pro wrestler. He could start a cult maybe?
Get Off Me- May 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm
@Dim mak
No No my friend, the low testosterone is from cutting weight as a wrestler in school and over his professional fighting days.
It's funny though, with so many other professional fighters who cut weight and amateur wrestlers who cut weight, they do not magically need testosterone therapy, I mean STEROIDS.
FightZen- May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm
I want Chael to pay just because Bisping doesn't want him to. If you are the company you keep, Jailed Sonnen (god I love that) could do much better than being defended by The C*nt. Like, Matt Lindl... never mind.
Tai-Pan- May 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm
When Bisping is made to look like a cool-headed rational human being you know the CSAC has gone to far. This is bullshit, how is an indefinite suspension even within the rules? His fight with Anderson was almost a year ago now so he's already been defacto suspended for a year, 6 months longer than his reduced suspension was supposed to be for.
dim mak- May 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm
isn't it likely that the reason sonen has low testosterone is from years of taking steroids? i mean, aren't shrunken balls like the most obvious side effect of that? so cry me a fucking river you steroid cheat, defrauding, lay and pray loser.