Much ado about Chael Sonnen.

“The American Gangster” has found himself in the headlines in MMA media for the last few weeks, and while Sonnen historically embraces the spotlight, this time he’s finding himself in hot water after failing one test too many.

On May 24, Sonnen failed a drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), prompting his retirement. Weeks later, a subsequent failed drug test revealed multiple banned substances in his system, warranting his departure from the UFC and Fox Sports.

Does the punishment fit the crime? Was it the right move? Does it even matter?

While the punitive actions of the UFC are inconsistent, at best, UFC President Dana White has shown less flexibility against rule violations recently (e.g. Jason High). However, issues related to performance-enhancing drug use have come to fruition within the UFC organization and the NSAC, leaving Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort and Sonnen on the receiving end of high-profile criticism.

The announcement of Sonnen’s release seemingly left the MMA community either shocked, sad or indifferent. Some have criticized the UFC and Fox for relieving Sonnen of his duties. Others praise the respective organizations for their decision. Some are “shocked” to hear of his transgressions, while others are simply perplexed and sad in trying to understand the motivation behind Sonnen’s choices.

Unfortunately, Sonnen is no stranger to rule violations. His first offense for a drug test came following a suspenseful and exciting bout with Anderson Silva in 2010, ironically enough.

Although Sonnen was never regarded as one of the all-time greats, he certainly had an allure that kept fans wanting more. Coaching opposite of Jon Jones for The Ultimate Fighter 17, Sonnen brought in years of experience in competition and coaching. The former NCAA Division I wrestling champion and Olympic Greco-Roman trialist would go on to appease fans with his compelling persona and ability to inspire. His efforts did not go unnoticed either. An intimate scene where Sonnen encouraged TUF competitor Uriah Hall became a memorable moment in the season’s broadcast.

Chael P. Sonnen. The fans love him. Through his fight career, interviews, TUF journey and media efforts, Sonnen found his place in the hearts of many. His profound gift of gab and knowledge of the sport paid off big in broadcasting. His efforts with the UFC and Fox made him a staple in the MMA world. His loss is our loss, whether you like him or not.

The loss wasn’t easy for UFC President Dana White, either. White went on record with Fox Sports 1 to say releasing Sonnen was a tough decision. But abiding by the expectations outlined to those on the UFC roster, White had to remove personal biases and act fast. White regarded the dismissal of Sonnen as “something we had to do.”

Does the punishment fit the crime? Yes. It’s completely in line with the expectations set forth in UFC guidelines. Was it the right move? Yes and no. In following the morals and expectations of an athlete on the UFC roster, it was the right move. Supporters of Sonnen might argue the release from broadcast was premature. Does it matter? Absolutely.

Will we see a triumphant return of Sonnen? That’s yet to be determined.

About The Author

Stacey Lynn
Staff Writer

Stacey Lynn was introduced to MMA in 2007. She stumbled upon training MMA after falling in love with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. Stacey graduated with her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in October of 2012 and balances her work as an MMA writer with being a full time psychologist.

  • fredtroy

    All his substances are hormones not steroids, no testosterone,also small amounts not overloaded, I think he was trying to get off the testosterone, which he cannot do, bring back Sonnen,he entertains us.

  • fredtroy

    I repeat his substances are not steroids, look it up!I

    • therightguy

      No one has argued that the recent test he failed for was due to steroids but they are performance enhancing banned substances, any athlete with integrity avoids these

  • fredtroy

    Also in order to be performance enhancing for an athelet you need an overload, I don t see that here

  • fredtroy

    He took banned substances,hormones, not drugs.Before competition, even caffeine can be a banned substance.I am a stickler for facts.

    • You’re missing the point. He took banned substances, so regardless of his reasons, he broke the rules. And HGH and EPO are not used for anything but performance enhancements.

      • fredtroy

        Yes he took banned substances, guilty,i did not miss that point! he should be punished.However he took hormones ,they have many uses besides enhancing performance, we would need a doctor for explaining our endocrine system ,read a little Susan Somers on the subject, my point is they weren’t in excess,making them performance enhansing,is it possible he was actually trying under doctor supervision to get off testosterone,which was not found.He d of been better off with testosterone if he was trying to pull something off!

        • therightguy

          You’re a fool, no where will you find that HGH and EPO are used for getting off testosterone. If you don’t think he used them as PEDs you’re in terrible denial. There hasn’t been anything published on the levels they were found so your “facts” could use a lot of work. Also, proper grammar is would have or would’ve not “would of” smart one

  • fredtroy

    You are right I totally missed used the word steroid,sorry!