It's easy to act in front of undiscerning pro wrestling fans and except bad shtick to work. Unfortunately, you won't get the same results with discerning adults. UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen is in serious trouble with the California State Athletic Commission. Josh Gross breaks the news:
The California State Athletic Commission has indefinitely suspended mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen's license to fight in the state pending a May 18 special hearing in Los Angeles.
CSAC executive officer George Dodd said the action was taken because the panel's legal counsel felt Sonnen may have perjured himself during testimony at an appeal hearing in December related to his ban for elevated levels of testosterone, which at 16.9 was four times higher than the state's allowable testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.
Sonnen did not respond to ESPN.com's requests for comment.
The suspension, issued two weeks ago by the CSAC, puts Sonnen on the national database used by regulators to monitor medical and administrative suspensions, and asks North American regulatory bodies to contact California before issuing the UFC middleweight contender a license to compete, corner, promote or act as a manager.
Gross' article provides full details of why Sonnen is in the predicament he's in now, but here's the gist. After testing positive for grossly elevated levels of testosterone after losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 117, the California State Athletic Commission suspended the UFC middleweight. In a hearing where he tried to mitigate the punishment for the suspension, Sonnen made a number of outlandish claims, one of them being this:
Sonnen said he did not do so in part because Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer was aware of the prescribed testosterone treatment and approved it as part of that state's therapeutic use exemption program. Kizer immediately denied ever having conversations with the fighter, and specifically said a discussion involving steroids and therapeutic use exemptions did not take place. Sonnen, Kizer countered, has not been issued a therapeutic use exemption in Nevada.
Sonnen has since amended his statements to suggest that he misspoke about conversations with Kizer, and that it was his management that approached the executive director. Asked if Sonnen's management sought a therapeutic use exemption for prescribed testosterone on the fighter's behalf, Kizer simply told ESPN.com, "no."
Let me see if I'm able to articulate how much fail there is in all of this.
While Sonnen was initially able to have his suspension reduced to 6 months and a minor fine in California, things only got worse. If Keith Kizer of the Nevada State Athletic Commission is correct, Sonnen used a series of lies in his California hearing about actions that "happened" to Nevada to avoid more severe punishment. Except that Kizer is saying Sonnen is not telling the truth about what happened in Nevada and now wants answers. Worse, this isn't just about Sonnen's ability to obtain a license again. The UFC wanted Sonnen to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside Michael Bisping, but since Kizer has yet to clear Sonnen of his impropriety, that opportunity has likely passed.
Now the trouble has boomeranged back to California. The excuse he used to diminish punishment in California caused problems in Nevada. Those new problems caused in Nevada - coupled with his recent admission of money laundering in federal court - have now made his original problems far worse in California. Oh, and remember when Sonnen went on ESPN's MMA Live and mocked the CSAC's requirements for disclosure after being cleared? I'm sure they'll want to know what compelled Sonnen to do that as well.
Where the UFC middleweight goes from here, who knows? He's now facing two highly skeptical commissions in arguably the two most-important states in combat sports, both of whom he has arguably lied to in the course of self defense. Sonnen's California hearing is set for May 18th, but there's no word on when he'll be able to rectify his problems in Nevada.