Several notable UFC fighters believe that the Nevada State Athletic Commission was far too lenient in the sanctions it handed down to Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen at Wednesday's hearing.
As a matter of fact, Belfort didn't face any sanctions at all—despite admitting that he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during a random drug screening in February.
Belfort was granted a conditional license, which means he will be subject to numerous random drug tests from the NSAC, until a middleweight title fight with Chris Weidman materializes at UFC 181 on December 6, per Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com.
UFC middleweight contender Tim Kennedy, one of the most outspoken athletes in regard to cleaning up MMA, was up in arms over the fact that Belfort was licensed.
@LukeRockhold make sure you use all of the performance enhancing drugs that you can. Apparently it's totally fine.
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) July 23, 2014
Belfort, an open user of testosterone replacement therapy before the treatment was banned by the NSAC in February, also failed a drug test for the anabolic steroid 4-hydroxytestosterone in October 2006, per MMA Weekly.
Therefore, many were surprised when the NSAC granted him a conditional license going forward.
Fate was not nearly as kind to former three-time UFC title challenger Sonnen, who was issued a two-year ban by the commission for testing positive for the PEDs human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) on June 5, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting.
He did not receive any monetary penalty as part of the sanctions.
Making matters worse for The American Gangster was the fact that he failed a random drug test administered on May 24 for the anti-estrogenic drugs anastrozole and clomiphene.
In total, that makes three failed drug tests for Sonnen in about four years, as he failed a drug test for elevated levels of testosterone in September 2010 as well, per Sherdog.
With all that in mind, former UFC welterweight title challenger Josh Koscheck believed Sonnen got a slap on the wrist.
NSAC was way to easy on Chael today. They say let’s clean up the sport? Then they need to start attacking these cheaters with big fines!— Josh Koscheck (@JoshKoscheck) July 23, 2014
MY POINT is ALL MMA/UFC Fighters will think twice about doing sports enhancing drugs if you start attacking the pocketbook with big fines.— Josh Koscheck (@JoshKoscheck) July 24, 2014
Not addressing either Sonnen or Belfort in particular, UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson, known for his rotund physique as much as his heavy hands and iron chin, was clearly disappointed in the outcome of the hearing.
One thing I confirmed today in Major sports is IT PAYS TO CHEAT and Cheat and Cheat - Look at our buddy Lance and... http://t.co/HsS1aYUp8R— Roy Nelson (@roynelsonmma) July 23, 2014
Was the NSAC fair in the way it dealt with Sonnen and Belfort, or did it take a very lax approach to a very serious situation?