Chael Sonnen Talks Testosterone: 'Yes, I Took It To Get an Edge'

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IJune 12, 2013

Apr 26, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Chael Sonnen (right) is interviewed by Joe Rogan after being weighed in for his light heavyweight title bout against Jon Jones (not pictured) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The argument about testosterone replacement therapy and its use in MMA continues to be a popular subject, and it inadvertently took center stage during a recent interview with Chael Sonnen when he appeared on the Jim Rome Show that will air on Showtime Wednesday night.

Sonnen was part of a panel speaking about performance-enhancing drugs and the recent discoveries made by Major League Baseball and suspensions that may be handed down regardless of positive drug tests being administered and returned.

During the discussion, Rome put the spotlight on Sonnen. In 2010 following his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, the Oregon native tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. 

Rome asked Sonnen point blank: "Were you looking to get an edge, were you trying to cheat, and did you get caught?"

In response, Sonnen said he wasn't cheating and fully admitted he did it to gain an advantage, but also denied testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone for his infraction in 2010.

"That is inaccurate.  I didn't have high levels (of testosterone), I had a separated T to E (testosterone to epitestosterone) ratio, which is not illegal," Sonnen stated.  "I was in trouble for the disclosure issue and they gave me six months. 

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"Testosterone's not illegal, which we all found out. It's perfectly legal.  I followed all the rules as I understood them and yes, I took it to get an edge.  I would never take anything if I didn't think it would help me."

In September 2010, California State Athletic Commission Executive Director George Dodd revealed in a statement that in a postfight drug test, Sonnen's "test came back with a high T/E (testosterone-to-estrogen) level, which is indicative of anabolic steroid use."

The levels were ultimately revealed in testing released to the media as a 16.9-to-1 ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone.  Normal ratio levels of testosterone in men come in at 1-to-1, while the acceptable levels by the World Anti-Doping Agency reach as high as 4-to-1.  State athletic commissions such as Nevada will even allow up to a 6-to-1 level before considering it a failed test. 

Sonnen's levels were clearly over all of those limits at the time.

Still, Sonnen's statement to Rome was partially true because in a December 2010 hearing with the commission, the focus became less about his elevated testosterone levels and more about his lack of disclosure that he was prescribed testosterone replacement therapy by a physician to battle a condition known as hypogonadism.

Sonnen failed to properly apply and receive permission to use testosterone injections leading up to his fight, and that was really the major subject dealt with when he appeared before the commission.

Ultimately, the commission opted to suspend Sonnen for six months at the time for his failure to disclose the use of the treatments.

Sonnen continued speaking about the use of testosterone and reiterated that it's not an illegal substance and that he never tested out of range.  He claims now it was just false reporting that did him in.

"It's a legal substance versus a banned substance. Don't say performance enhancing, that's what this is, we don't take things to bring us down," Sonnen stated.  "That's called malpractice in this country.  All medication is meant to enhance us in America. 

"I took testosterone that was perfectly legal, and I did not have elevated levels.  I wasn't even accused of that.  The media did that to me."

Unfortunately for Sonnen this time around, the facts released by the California State Athletic Commission tell a different story.

Regardless, Sonnen's larger point was concerning substances being taken by all athletes competing in professional sports—nothing is being taken without trying to one-up the opposition.

The full episode with Sonnen appearing on the Jim Rome Show airs on Wednesday night on Showtime starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.