UPDATE: Tuesday, June 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Chael Sonnen appeared on America's Pregame on Fox Sports 1 and during his conversation with Mike Hill, he stated that he would appeal the decision of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He also again reiterated that he did take the substances in question, but that they are not illegal.
Sonnen said he will appeal. Arguing distinction between "out of competition" and "game day" usage on these "banned" substances.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) June 10, 2014
Chael gave a very good way of looking at the situation during the interview. If he were to break his arm and be prescribed Vicodin, he would be allowed to take it, but could not show up on fight night with it in his system, because it is a banned substance. He contends that the current issue is no different.
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UPDATE: Tuesday, June 10 at 5:15 p.m. ET
Chael Sonnen was interviewed on on Jay Mohr Sports Tuesday to explain why he failed his drug test.
“They changed the ruling in Nevada earlier this year, doing away with the TRT, testosterone replacement therapy, and I was on that. So when they changed the rule, we all had to go through a transition phase. For me during the transition, I had to take a couple of things. One is called Clomiphene……and another is called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). I didn’t fight it or ask for a license. In the interim, they did a test, and I tested positive for these things which I should have because I took them and they were in my system. That wasn’t a surprise. These aren’t anabolics, these aren’t steroids or performance enhancers, but they have deemed that they are banned substances. What’s interesting in my case is that we’re out of competition. These aren’t things that I showed up with on game day. This is out of competition due to a rule that they changed, so it’s an odd spot for me.”
Sonnen is not denying that he took the substances in question, but he correctly points out that they are not performance enhancing drugs. Jay Mohr then asked why Sonnen would hand in a drug test if it wasn't a fight night and he had those in his system.
“What happens is they do out-of-competition testing, and the lab that they went to is the USADA lab, which is the greatest lab in the world, but it’s a very sensitive test. We’ve done our own test, at our own labs and we thought everything was out of our system. These weren’t secrets that I took these substances, this is what you have to take coming off testosterone. They can handle it however they want. They can say that it makes sense or they can say they don’t like it. The confusing part is that for a non-anabolic, non-steroid, non-performance enhancing agent that is perfectly legal and that I need for a healthy life……essentially, they are saying you have to choose between health and sport. It’s very tough for me because I was very upfront about it being in my system. Why was it in my system? Because I took it! I’ve been taking it, and I had to take it because you guys (NSAC) changed the rules. I now have to go to a hearing and I have a fight in thirty-days. There’s no way the hearing will be before then. It’s just kind of a tough spot.”
These drugs aren't performance enhancing for Sonnen, they are necessary to be healthy. If Sonnen really is forced to chose between health and fighting, then he may truly be forced to retire.
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As if this event didn't have enough turmoil leading up to it, now Chael Sonnen has been forced out of his fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 175.
I'll say this: Chael is consistent. Both drugs are typical for TRT plans. Maybe the guy really needs the treatment?— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) June 10, 2014
Per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com, Sonnen has failed a random drug test and will not face Belfort on July 5.
Sonnen was randomly tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission when he was in Las Vegas in May, likely for Dan Henderson's fight against Daniel Cormier. The results of the test confirmed the presence of Anastrozole and Clomiphene, both of which are classified as anti-estrogenic, and are prohibited substances.
Okamoto points out that "Anastrozole is used to treat early stages of breast cancer. Clomiphene is used in cases of female infertility."
The UFC confirmed the situation to Okamoto on Tuesday, saying, "UFC officials acknowledge irregularities in a recent random test. Chael is planning on addressing the matter this afternoon."
This fight was originally supposed to feature Sonnen facing off against Wanderlei Silva in the coaches' fight from The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3. However, Silva didn't submit an application for a fighter's license in Nevada and then refused to undergo a random drug test, forcing him out of the fight.
Vitor Belfort stepped up and agreed to fight Sonnen on several weeks' notice, but now that Sonnen has failed a drug test and won't participate, the status of the fight is unknown. There is no word yet on Belfort's status for the card.
This fight was notable for Sonnen, as it would have been his first fight without testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) since at least UFC 117. UFC 117 was technically Sonnen's first failed test, as he was not licensed for TRT in that fight.
Sonnen even said in March that with TRT going away, he might be forced to retire:
If it [the ban] retires guys, then it retires guys. Rules are rules and the rules need to be followed. I've had to stop testosterone with the hope we can find a new way to gain results of upping testosterone to a healthy level. If it doesn't work, I may have to stop the sport and it's as simple as that.
Sonnen was diagnosed with hypogonadism in 2008 and had been approved for TRT in his previous six fights.
Sonnen was previously suspended following his TRT debacle at UFC 117, and he is possibly in line for a second, year-long, suspension. If Sonnen's past statements about giving up the sport are true, then this could be what finally forces Sonnen to hang up his gloves.
Stick with Bleacher Report as this story develops throughout the day.