Last month, the Nevada State Athletic Commission smacked Chael Sonnen with a two-year suspension after he tested positive for a pharmacy’s worth of unapproved substances, following two separate random drug tests back in May. As Sonnen and PED-apologist Ralek Gracie see it, that suspension shouldn’t stop the American Gangster from headlining a submission-grappling event in California this weekend. But according to the NSAC, it should stop him from competing, and they’re pretty upset about it.
“Multiple sources confirm NAC has threatened to fine Sonnen $250,000 per failed drug test violation if he competes at Metamoris. Sonnen has hired Vegas lawyer Ross Goodman to represent him in the case…Sonnen camp’s contention is that grappling is not fighting and suspension shouldn’t cover it.”
A follow-up report from MMAJunkie adds more details:
A source close to the commission, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, today told MMAjunkie that the commission sent a letter to Sonnen this past week informing him that the grappling match violated the terms of his suspension, which was handed down in July after a disciplinary hearing on multiple failed drug tests at UFC 175.
In turn, Sonnen’s legal rep, Jeff Meyer, sent a response that challenged the NSAC’s definition of competing. At the time of this writing, it appears Sonnen will meet Galvao as scheduled…Although the grappling competition is not sanctioned by a state athletic commission, as it isn’t considered a combat sport in the same way as are boxing and MMA, the NSAC wants Sonnen to withdraw from the event.
The NSAC’s motivations behind this pursuit are obvious, and fairly logical. Even though submission grappling isn’t technically defined as a “combat sport” — which is bizarre, but whatever — the mere sight of Sonnen participating in any athletic competition directly after a suspension makes the Nevada commission look toothless. In other words, the NSAC needs to drop the hammer in order to send a message that their suspensions should be respected.
But how much jurisdiction does Nevada actually have to regulate what goes on in California? That question might only be settled by a long legal dispute. We’ll keep you posted…