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With Chael Sonnen suspended, the UFC’s testosterone enabling has gone full circle; horrific spin control on FS1

By Zach Arnold | June 10, 2014

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Chael Sonnen’s suspension is all the talk on Twitter

So, remember the claim that if Chael Sonnen had to get off of testosterone (anabolic steroids) that he was going to shrivel up and die?

Old habits die hard.

After going on UFC (Pravda) Tonight on Fox Sports 1 and trashing Wanderlei Silva for running away from his Nevada drug test, Chael Sonnen has reportedly failed his Nevada drug test. Does he deserve brownie points for taking his test and then failing, like Vitor Belfort did in early February?

The Vitor Belfort/Chael Sonnen match for UFC 175 in July is off. And who knows if Belfort will go through the process of getting licensed next week in Las Vegas. Brett Okamoto of ESPN has all the details here.

A couple of takeaways: 1) it’s amazing how just a “random” drug test is catching all the users, especially when the tests are done when the fighter is present in Nevada; 2) it’s amazing that the known testosterone users aren’t smart enough to avoid detection and get off the drugs; 3) if Nevada can catch guys this easy, why is this not happening in California where so many fighters reside? They’re not even testing all the fighters on cards now. And at a recent athletic inspector’s meeting in Southern California, they apparently just ran out of time to go over the drug testing issue.

Everything I said about the testosterone plague being pushed or enabled by UFC is coming back to bite Zuffa in the ass. Seriously, you didn’t need a PhD to see this coming and yet so many people in MMA have been in complete denial about what was happening. They’re now in a state of shock as to the fallout now.

As for Sonnen failing his drug test, there is a circle-of-life thing going on here. He was the kingpin behind the momentum for fighters to cry hypogonadism and a need for testosterone permission slips from athletic commissions. And the UFC was all too complicit in helping out grown, muscular men crying out at an alarming, abnormal rate that they, too, needed anabolic steroids to survive and make a living. It was Sonnen with his exploits in California that started this circle of embarrassment for MMA and basically confirmed that the industry is as dirty as horse racing.

Sonnen, Vitor, and Wanderlei getting nailed is living proof that guys are going to use testosterone whether or not they have a permission slip from an athletic commission. Getting the permission slips merely glorified the drug usage and built pressure on drug users to hit the anabolics rather than regulate an already-existing problem.

As for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they couldn’t possibly have managed to hit upon more dumb luck. They need all the positive press these days given what Anthony Marnell III has put them through lately with his marijuana permit issues.

Update (6:30 PM EST): Fox Sports 1 just aired back-to-back interviews with Dana White and Chael Sonnen. It was the worst kind of public relations imaginable and they just inflamed a bad situation into an even worse one.

Mike Hill was put in a no-win situation interviewing both White & Sonnen. White said that MMA doesn’t have a drug problem. He went on to say that guys aren’t using testosterone but they’re using drugs to get off of testosterone. He used the Robert Mathis “fertility” excuse as to why Chael Sonnen was using some of the drugs he currently is. White blamed Chael for not disclosing his current drug usage and also blamed the Nevada State Athletic Commission for halting testosterone permission slips and not allowing for a transition period for fighters to ween off of testosterone.

Nearly seven years ago, Josh Gross wrote a famous open letter to Dana White about steroids in MMA. “This is about the truth of your product, and by pretty obvious extension, the sport.”

After babysitter Dana’s interview, here came Chael Sonnen stating that he was not using performance enhancing drugs but the rules are the rules and that if he has to choose between fatherhood and his job, he’ll choose fatherhood. At the end of the interview, Mike Hill was apologizing to Sonnen.

The response on social media to both White & Sonnen has been brutal, especially towards White. He’s being exposed and mocked for being a liar and completely out of touch. Given how much UFC leans heavily on the social media audience to support their product, today was a “jumped the shark” kind of moment.

Topics: All Topics, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “With Chael Sonnen suspended, the UFC’s testosterone enabling has gone full circle; horrific spin control on FS1”

  1. rst says:

    So Chael raced to the bottom before vitor could?

    The only person in charge if overseeing all this is the UFC.
    Is dana.

    Without a dana, the vitors and chaels would be long gone.

  2. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    We can only hope Machida gets staph and vitor gets the title fight.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    The media could have a field day with this. In this case though, the UFC falling into third tier status as a sport leads to MMA chatter not moving the needle any more. I’ll be surprised if any major media outlets run with this, though I’d sure as hell be amused if they did.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      How dare you call the UFC 3rd tier! They are fully supporting Vitor Belfort cheating. That has to bring them to instant 4th tier by default.

  4. Chris says:

    Poetic Justice. You give the green light for guys to cheat legally this is what you get.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Wanderlei Silva skips out on a drug test and UFC does not suspend him.

    2) Vitor Belfort failed a drug test for the 2nd time in his career and the UFC supports him and wants him to fight less then 6 months later. According to Junkie, he might be getting a new opponent.

    3) Chael Sonnen fails a drug test for the 2nd time in his career and the UFC is not even talking about suspending him.

    4) A fighter pushes a ref after getting hit in the back of the head by illegal blows…. And is cut from the UFC. Not to mention Dana White says anybody who puts their hands on a ref should be gone yet there is a long history of fighters doing that to the refs with no penalty. Even the NM Commission didn’t see an issue and wasn’t going to discipline him.

    The UFC has major problems. They have no true drug policy and often help cheaters advance their careers. Not a shock. Has anybody seen the recent pictures of Fertitta?

    The UFC has turned themselves into one giant joke of a promotion.

  6. Zack says:

    “also blamed the Nevada State Athletic Commission for halting testosterone permission slips and not allowing for a transition period for fighters to ween off of testosterone.”

    I don’t understand this. He was tested cuz he signed a bout agreement.

    If he needed longer to transition off TRT, why did he take a fight so soon?

  7. [...] edge of random, surprise drug testing is, perhaps, an indictment on the industry itself. At least, Zach Arnold thinks so. As for Sonnen failing his drug test, there is a circle-of-life thing going on here. He [...]

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    I was thinking about the UFC drug problem and I think I see the problem.

    Everybody knows the UFC has a drug problem. I even think Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta know the UFC has a drug problem.

    The problem is EGO. Instead of just admitting there is a problem and trying to rectify it from the ground up, the UFC is doubling down on their own stupidity. It is sort of like when two people argue on the internet and neither wants to back down. One or both of the people end up looking completely stupid as they take such a rigid stance no matter how much the other person gives them a different viewpoint.

    At some point, White & Fertitta have to cut their losses. They need to deal with the drug problem from the FOUNDATION. This means implementing their own drug policy and doing out of competition drug testing throughout the year for all of their fighters (or at least the Top 15 for now). And if a fighter does fail a random drug test from an athletic commission and are not suspended, THE UFC NEEDS TO SUSPEND THE FIGHTER!!!

    Vitor Belfort should not be in consideration for UFC 175. He should be out for an entire year (2 time offender). Chael Sonnen should not be getting Dana White’s support. Chael signed up for the fight knowing what drugs he would or wouldn’t have to take coming off of TRT. He signed the bout agreement and should be penalized as a TWO TIME OFFENDER. This means suspended for ONE YEAR.

    As of right now, Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta look more crooked then then the boxing promoters they claim to be superior to. And it is doing huge damage to the sport.

    • Nepal says:

      The problem with the UFC taking too much responsibility and suspending/cutting its fighter is that opens the door for competition. Another promotion would be happy to take Vitor, Wandy, Chael and more into their ranks. Instant known players that they can promote. Not good for UFC. UFC is between a rock and a hard place.

  9. david m says:

    Ben Askren had a good line on twitter, saying that Vitor, Chael, and Wanderlei should have a 3 way dance since they are all using anyway.

    BTW, it is remarkable Askren isn’t in the UFC. Olympic athlete, undefeated, charismatic, clever, but not a big swinger. Enough with the line that UFC hosts the best fighters in the world.

    Re: Chael, this sucks for fans and for the UFC. I was looking forward to seeing Chael against Vitor or Silva. There is just something about shit talking and loathing (in the case of the latter) that just makes for compelling viewing, something the UFC has sorely lacked of late.

  10. edub says:

    Chael apparently just retired.

  11. Bryan says:

    Man, what the hell has been going on with the UFC lately? I’ll say this, I’ve stopped watching cards. They’ve sure as hell lost me as a fan.

  12. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    I’m coining this Vitor Wand Chael fiasco… “the TRT stooges in “healthy wealthy and dumb”.
    And the less popular TRT stooges Dana, Frattata and Joe starring in “a ducking they did go”.

  13. rst says:

    Well I’ve said it before and this will be the last time,
    Chael was fun. He seemed like a generally cool guy outside of his faults who it would be amazing to hang out with at a bar.
    But he was bad for the sport.

    The only thing he brought to the sport was rassling shenanigans, the kind of juvenile audience that attracts and TRT.
    He wouldn’t have been allowed to do that without zuffa enabling it so he doesn’t get all the blame,
    but his last act as a pro, to bow out instead of further trashing things was a good one.
    The belforts of the world would never be self aware enough or care enough if they were to just walk away.

    Chaels got other avenues and opportunities in life,
    good luck to him.

    • rst says:

      Bloody elbow has unanimously decided that Chael should be in the UFC hall of Fame.
      :)
      I think he should to!

      I suspect a few of the writers are in on the joke,
      but at least half of them (I’ve never heard of half of them! Except Kyle MacLachlin, he’s great in Portalandia!),
      seem to genuinely consider his “achievements” worthy on their own merits.

      Which is interesting.

      Steph MacDanials is thoroughly impressed and the self proclaimed biggest Chael Sonnen fangirl.
      (I suppose I’ve never truly understood how any woman I’ve ever met or heard of thinks. Or maybe I do, and I just refuse to accept it.)

  14. [...] Sports made its bed long ago with the UFC. There’s a reason former ESPN’er Mike Hill was apologizing to Sonnen on camera during his horrific spin job. It was so bad, he retired a day after that [...]

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