Chael Sonnen failed a drug test administrated by the Nevada Athletic Commission earlier this year, forcing him off the July UFC 175 card and his fight with Vitor Belfort.
Sonnen, appearing after UFC president Dana White on FOX Sports 1 Tuesday evening after word got out of the failed test result, spoke out against the NAC and the rules in which fighters are governed.
“I had no opportunity to go before the commission,” Sonnen said. “I had not spoken to them.”
Sonnen stated his case, saying the test came while he was “out of competition” and that “An athlete does not have to remain off medication 365 days of the year – not the NCAA, not the (Olympic athletes), not even the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”
He used the example of Vicodin, which could be prescribed by a doctor to hurt an injured athlete.
“If I break my arm and a doctor gives me Vicodin, Vicodin is extremely illegal on fight night,” Sonnen said. “It’s also extremely appropriate medicine to cure somebody’s pain. The message (the NAC is) sending here is completely wrong.”
Sonnen was found to have anastrozole and clomiphene in his system, which are banned substances. However, going back to his out of competition claim, he thought he was not doing anything wrong.
“There is a huge distinction between illegal vs. banned. These are perfectly legal substances,” he said. “These are not performance-enhancing drugs. These are not anabolics. These are not steroids of any kind. (The NAC) changed the rules and I’ve got to comply with the rules.
“However, there is a transition period and I couldnn’t have been more open or more transparent. Whether it was UFC Tonight, whether it was different interviews, anybody that I could tell or talk to about this, I did. These are the medications that you have to go on to lead a healthy life. If they’re asking me to choose between my health and my sport, that’s not a choice I can make. I’ve got to choose health.”
In 2010, Sonnen was suspended by the California Athletic Commission for elevated levels of testosterone after failing to notify the board of his use of TRT. He appealed and had the one-year sentence cut in half to six months.
Sonnen stated he plans to appeal this decision, as well, with a meeting set for later this month.
The complete 14-minute interview with Sonnen can be viewed below:
Front-Page Photo Credit: Winslow Townson