Chael Sonnen Admits Trying to 'Game the System,' Offers Advice for Fighters

Hunter HomistekCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 22:  Mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen attends the UFC 170 event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on February 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen finally offered some insight into his latest suspension and subsequent retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts. 

The usually brash and outspoken individual fell unusually quiet after stepping away from MMA, becoming uncharacteristically reserved in the wake of his disaster. 

On Wednesday, August 13, however, Sonnen appeared on WWE star Chris Jericho's podcast, Talk Is Jericho, to clear the air and to let fans know exactly what he was thinking as his career came tumbling down upon him (transcriptions courtesy of MMA Fighting's Dave Doyle). 

"I didn't think I'd be tested for another 44 days," Sonnen said of the random, pre-fight drug tests which led to his suspension. "I tried to game the system. I was hit on a surprise test that was 44 days before a fight."

Sonnen continued:

When I talk about being dirty, I'm not talking about steroids or illegal drugs. I gotta make this distinction: if you ever failed a drug test, you are automatically taking something illegal and they were steroids, that's just the way it works in people's minds. Well, first off, none of them were illegal, and none of them were steroids, but I never offered a defense. I turned in my prescriptions. I got this from the doctor, this was valid stuff, but, these are still against the rules, I knew it.

Sonnen then went on to clarify his intent in taking the banned substances. He knew the drugs were performance enhancers, and he hoped to benefit from taking them before his UFC 175 showdown with Vitor Belfort. 

Now, as somebody who lost his career as a fighter and his post-combat career as a Fox Sports analyst, Sonnen is in a position to help the future generation of fighters. While many up-and-comers would love to learn how to sell a fight like Uncle Chael could in his prime, The American Gangster served up a different kind of advice on Jericho's podcast. 

Instead of focusing on training techniques or the intricacies of hyping a fight, Sonnen stayed on topic and offered what he feels is the best advice for a fighter grappling with PEDs today. 

"People are forgiving when you're honest," Sonnen said. "If I could ever advise someone who is in my shoes, just come clean. Come as clean as you can, as quickly as you can. Then let the people decide."

After some dicey moments where it seemed as though Sonnen would never be able to clear his name, this recent appearance on Jericho's podcast shows that he's handling the situation well, he's coming to terms with everything that went down, and he's looking to help fighters avoid making the same mistakes he made in the twilight of his career. 

As it stands, Sonnen ends his days as a mixed martial artist boasting a 28-14-1 record. While he never captured the UFC title, he challenged for it three times, dropping two middleweight championship bouts against Anderson Silva and one light heavyweight tilt against Jon Jones.