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MANILA, Philippines – After he flubbed two random drug tests in a one-month duration, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was forced to sever its ties with Chael Sonnen.
The world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion made a joint statement with its cable television partner FOX Sports on Tuesday, July 1, that both companies have terminated their respective broadcasting services agreements with the former fighter and analyst.
The statement read: “The UFC and FOX Sports organizations announced today the termination of their respective broadcasting services agreements with analyst Chael Sonnen. This decision comes in light of Sonnen failing a second test conducted by the Nevada Athletic Commission for banned substances in June. Sonnen was previously under temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing an initial test conducted in May.”
Days after the news broke that he had failed his first random drug test this past May in Las Vegas, Sonnen opted to hang up his gloves for good.
Sonnen was randomly checked ahead of his scheduled bout against Vitor Belfort on July 5 (July 6 in PHI) at the UFC 175 pay-per-view event.
According to the initial screening conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), banned substances such as Anastrozole and Clomiphene were found in the system of the 37-year-old West Linn, Oregon native.
Anastrozole is typically utilized to treat and prevent early stages of breast cancer, while Clomiphene is mainly used for cases involving female infertility.
The former NCAA Division I wrestler cited health concerns as the reason behind his decision to undergo the medicinal practice and pointed out that the positive results were a product of him taking fertility medication to help taper off the testosterone replacement therapy.
NSAC voted unanimously on February 27 to prohibit therapeutic-use exemptions for the aforementioned treatment, which affected potential first-time applicants as well as previous users, who would not be granted new exceptions when they apply for a renewed permit to compete in the state.
Meanwhile, it was reported over the weekend that he tested positive again, but the second exam administered last June 5 in Portland, Oregon resulted in Sonnen having traces of performance enhancers such as human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).
HGH is known to act on many aspects of cellular metabolism and is also necessary for skeletal growth in humans, while EPO stimulates red blood cell production in the body and increases the amount of oxygen that blood can carry to the muscles.
During the latest edition of “America’s Pregame” on FOX Sports 1, UFC president Dana White explained his decision to hand the pink slip to Sonnen.
“It’s never easy making decisions like this. Chael is a person that I personally care about. I know a lot of people at FOX care about him, too. The guy had four banned substances in his system. Four banned substances in his system leading up to a fight here in Las Vegas,” the head honcho said in the interview.
Sonnen leaves the sport with 43 professional matches and a 28-14-1 record, including a 7-7 win-loss card inside UFC’s Octagon.
In addition, the 6-foot-1 grappler holds notable victories over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Michael Bisping, Brian Stann, Nate Marquardt, and Yushin Okami.
“The American Gangster” was last seen in action this past November at UFC 167, where he was stopped by Rashad Evans in their light heavyweight encounter.
Sonnen’s 35 takedowns scored in middleweight bouts are the most in UFC divisional history, whereas his 1,300 total strikes landed at the 185-pound weight class rank second all-time in the organization.
Due to his unique ability to sell fights, Sonnen had the rare chance to vie for the world title three times, but he came up short as he yielded to former middleweight titlist Anderson Silva twice (UFC 117, UFC 148) and to reigning light heavyweight king Jon Jones as well (UFC 159).
Aside from his prizefighting stint, Sonnen served as FOX Sports 1’s resident analyst since the channel’s inception nearly a year ago and hosted several programs including the weekly “UFC Tonight” newsmagazine show. – Rappler.com