The UFC Fight Night 26 main event is officially a go after Chael Sonnen received the green light from the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission after a special hearing was held on Thursday to determine his eligibility for a fight license.
The grievance came from the union group Unite Here, who had filed a complaint with the commission over Sonnen's licensing after he was convicted on federal money laundering charges in 2011. There was a second complaint filed by the National Organization for Women over Sonnen's alleged sexist, homophobic and derogatory language.
The complaints were heard in a special closed-door session with the commission on Thursday, but ultimately, Sonnen was able to obtain permission to fight without any issues.
Sonnen's manager Mike Roberts of MMA, Inc. confirmed when speaking to Bleacher Report that the fighter "looks like" he was set for his license.
UFC officials handed down additional confirmation when contacted by Bleacher Report via email on Thursday, saying that Sonnen was "good to go."
The commission meeting ultimately seemed to just serve as a distraction brought on by the union group who is involved in an ongoing battle against Station Casinos in Las Vegas—owned and operated by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, the co-owners of the UFC. Station Casinos is currently a non-unionized work force and the local unions have been battling for years to get in the door with the gaming company.
The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission is also entering new ground with Sonnen in regards to his temporary use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Commission spokesperson Terrel Harris said in a statement released to MMA Weekly that Sonnen would be required to pre- and post-fight screenings to determine that his testosterone levels are within the legal limits.
"Sonnen, however, would be required to undergo testing to determine his testosterone levels both before and after the contest," Harris stated. “TUE for testosterone is uncharted territory for the Commission which has sent the issue to its Medical Advisory Board to determine allowable ratios prior to the fight and issuing Mr. Sonnen a fight license.”
It appears after the meeting on Thursday that Sonnen is cleared and ready for action as he gets ready for his main event bout against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua next weekend at UFC Fight Night 26.
UPDATE: The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission has also just issued a statement received via email by representative Terrel Harris on the matter with Sonnen.
The State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to license Chael Sonnen in Massachusetts for the Ultimate Fight Championship contest scheduled for August 17, 2013 in Boston. The decision followed the recommendation of their Medical Advisory Board which considered Sonnen’s physical condition and medical information. The Commission also considered complaints regarding his reputation and character but concluded no information the Commission received should preclude Sonnen’s licensure.
Sonnen is now officially cleared and licensed for the main event taking place in Boston next weekend for the launch of Fox Sports 1.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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