Chael Sonnen receives two-year suspension from NSAC for doping

Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen will not be able to fight again for two years after testing positive for banned substances.

Antonio Lacierda/EPA

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has handed down a two-year suspension and other sanctions to former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen.

NSAC unanimously decided to suspend Sonnen for two years with no fine following a pair of failed drug tests at a public hearing on Thursday morning, July 24 (PH Time) in Las Vegas.

Aside from being barred to fight in any other jurisdiction for his two-year term, Sonnen will be required to pay all doctors’ fees for the random drug tests he failed on May 24 and June 5.

In addition, he will be expected to work with the regulatory board to educate fighters, as well as the commission on how to improve future drug testing.

Sonnen flubbed two random drug tests in a one-month duration as per to the initial screening conducted by NSAC in May, 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 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 last month that he tested positive again, but the second exam administered 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.

"I don't want to say anything to you that comes off as an excuse. I am guilty. I am ashamed. I don't have any attempt to put up a defense," Sonnen stated during the proceedings.

Commissioner Anthony Marnell suggested a lifetime ban for Sonnen, but his colleagues Raymond “Skip” Avansino and Pat Lundvall proposed a shorter term and countered that the UFC veteran should be used as a resource for stamping out future use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Sonnen opted to hang up his gloves for good due to the controversy, leaving the sport with 43 professional matches and a 28-14-1 record, including a 7-7 win-loss card inside the 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.

His 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).

Sonnen had 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” news-magazine show. - Rappler.com