The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Chael Sonnen fails drug test, won't fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 175 in July

  • Print

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Veteran UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen has failed a drug test, forcing him out of his bout with Vitor Belfort at UFC 175 in Las Vegas next month.

Sonnen said he tested positive for two banned substances in a random test last month. The three-time UFC title contender is likely to face a suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Sonnen attempted to defend himself Tuesday, claiming he took anastrozole and clomiphene as part of his move off testosterone replacement therapy, which was outlawed by Nevada regulators earlier this year. Sonnen had an exemption allowing his steroid use, but gave up TRT after it was banned.

"They changed the rules, and I've got to comply with the rules," Sonnen told Fox Sports, the UFC's television partner. "However, there is a transition period (after dropping TRT), and I couldn't have been more open or more transparent."

The 37-year-old Sonnen (28-14-1) said he plans to appeal the commission's decision next week, even though he acknowledged knowing the two substances were on the Nevada commission's banned list.

Sonnen said his doctor put him on the banned substances to bolster his natural testosterone production, which can be stunted by taking synthetic testosterone. He also believes he should be allowed to take the substances out of competition, even though they're banned precisely to prevent athletes from using them to gain an unfair advantage in preparation for an event.

"An athlete does not have to remain off of medication 365 days a year," Sonnen said. "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."

UFC President Dana White blamed both the Nevada commission and Sonnen while addressing the failed test on Fox Sports. White spoke out against TRT earlier this year, shortly before the Nevada commission banned it and many other commissions followed suit.

"This thing has been bad since Day 1," White said. "I wish that the commission had never let anybody use TRT, and when it went away, they didn't do a very good job of figuring out how to get these guys off it. When you get off it, you don't just go cold turkey.

"And it's Chael's fault, too, because Chael should have called the athletic commission and said, 'This is what my doctor told me I need to do to come down off this stuff, so here's what I've been taking.'"

Sonnen had lost three of his past four fights heading into his July 5 bout with Belfort, another former TRT user. While never a champion, Sonnen is among the UFC's most prominent figures, serving as a studio analyst, commentator and reality show coach for the UFC's broadcast platforms while also continuing his fighting career.

Sonnen also had high levels of testosterone in his system after his thrilling loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in Oakland, California, in 2010. He received a suspension for failing to get an exemption for TRT in California.

Sonnen's latest drug mishap is another bizarre turn for UFC 175, which has endured numerous changes and strange circumstances. Belfort only got a spot on the pay-per-view card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center when Wanderlei Silva skipped a drug test last month and dropped out of his scheduled bout with Sonnen, who harshly criticized Silva on television for missing the test.

Belfort used TRT for at least his last three fights, all won by spectacular knockout in his native Brazil. He dropped out of a scheduled fight with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in late February on the same day the Nevada commission banned TRT.

Belfort says he has since stopped using steroids. He is scheduled to appear at a licensing hearing with the Nevada commission next week.

UFC 175 is headlined by Weidman's title defence against Lyoto Machida and bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey's fourth title defence against Alexis Davis.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Tree remover has special connection to Grandma Elm

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google