(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.
- 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?