News Column

Failed Drug Test Costs Sonnen Fight

June 11, 2014

By Steven Marrocco, and Dann Stupp, MMAJunkie

UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen said Tuesday that a transition period after his testosterone-replacement therapy led to the drug-test failure that scratched him from next month's UFC 175 lineup.

Sonnen, appearing on Fox Sports 1, was accompanied by UFC President Dana White, who appeared earlier on the America's Pregameshow. White was critical of the three-time UFC title challenger and the Nevada State Athletic Commission for not disclosing his post-TRT regimen and not preparing fighters for competition after TRT.

"This has been bad since Day One. I wish the commission 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," White said of the controversial hormone therapy, which the NSAC and other commissions banned in February. "When you get off it, you don't just go cold turkey."

Sonnen failed a drug test ordered by the NSAC, which last fall had given him a therapeutic-use exemption to use doctor-prescribed testosterone. During a random test given while Sonnen was in Las Vegas for a news conference for his July 5 fight vs. Vitor Belfort, he tested positive for anastrozole and clomiphene, a non-steroidal aromatase-inhibiting drug used to treat breast cancer and a female infertility drug, respectively.

"Chael Sonnen's at this point in his life ... where he got married, he was trying to have children, and he's on medicine to get fertile, and his wife is now pregnant," White said. "So it worked. This is between Chael and the commission, but the rules should have been laid out better."

Sonnen was unapologetic about his failed test, saying he chose his health over the sport by taking two banned substances flagged by the NSAC. He vowed to appeal the commission's findings.

"They changed the rules, and I've got to comply with the rules," said Sonnen, who hosts the weekly UFC Tonight news show on Fox Sports 1. "I don't resist that. However, there is a transition period, and I couldn't have been more open or more transparent.

"And these are the medications that you have to go on to lead a healthy life, and ... I've got to choose health."

Sonnen said he did not specifically inform the NSAC about his post-testosterone treatment and that he knows anastrozole and clomiphene are banned substances. He claimed that because he was using them out of competition, he was not violating the rules.

Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports

Source: Copyright 2014 USA TODAY

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