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UFC has their own alphabet-soup: HGH, EPO, Low T, hCG, and more; Sonnen removed from FOX

By Zach Arnold | June 29, 2014

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I don’t think you could have had better symbolism to represent all of UFC’s current problems than the dog’s breakfast of a doubleheader on Saturday, topped off with the cherry on the steroid sundae after Chael Sonnen reportedly tested positive for HGH, EPO, and hCG for his random Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test.

If Nevada doesn’t watch out, UFC will run more shows in Texas and Florida to stay in no-income tax venues w/o all the hassles of actual drug testing. Sorry, Tennessee.

Sonnen, a guy who copped a plea deal to mortgage fraud, has lived it up as the bad guy forever and made millions of dollars in the process. So did the UFC. They never cared about the issue of drug usage in Mixed Martial Arts. And neither did a lot of writers who wanted to be Chael’s friend or wanted to get in on the action for access.

Right message, wrong messengers. And a little too late for all parties involved. On Saturday night, Fox Sports insulted their television viewers the worst way imaginable by having Karyn Bryant as the anchor for their coverage. They had two choices: go dark and ignore it or go big and be honest. Instead, FS1 chose the most cowardly way out: they announced the news of Sonnen’s EPO test result at 2 AM EST and read a canned statement in order to plug their weekly UFC Tonight show.

You know what? The Fox/UFC strategy worked. The Sonnen story didn’t trend on Twitter. Nary a peep. Didn’t explode. If you blinked, you missed it. It’s absurd that Fox cooperated with this stunt in ignoring their own UFC insider but Dana sent the message recently that Ariel Helwani is not a sacred cow.

Fox 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 performance.

Nearly two decades after Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa, Fox Sports is stuck in a marriage with a pro-steroids UFC organization that is now trying to backtrack as fast as possible. There has been damage done to the credibility of both parties but don’t expect many sports writers to jump on either party. There are many in the sports media rooting for Fox Sports 1 to neuter the mighty ESPN. Just as many are hoping for this outcome because they want to work for Fox Sports (or the UFC). Money makes the world go around.

But what about Chael Sonnen? What about all those rumors that Sonnen could have been the President of Bellator or the face of UFC when Dana White exits stage left? I still think it’s entirely possible that Sonnen will be the face of UFC management down the road. He’s the one guy who can hype a fight as good as Dana at this point for Zuffa. And it was a very quiet, silent Saturday night with Dana not being visible for either UFC event.

Prediction: Chael Sonnen will be part of UFC management within a few years and the whole drug testing controversy will simply be chalked up as Performance (Résumé) Enhancement.

Update (July 1st): Sonnen has been quietly removed from both UFC & FOX. For now. I expect he will return — and it’s interesting how much time passed before a decision was made here.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “UFC has their own alphabet-soup: HGH, EPO, Low T, hCG, and more; Sonnen removed from FOX”

  1. Hoodwink says:

    With someone like Sonnen, you have to embrace his hubris and exploit it. Hiding the story is a disservice to the public and your possible viewership numbers.

    I think both Fox sports 1 and UFC would have benefited in viewership numbers by running the story appropriately. They could have milked the story for the upcoming week that would eventually lead up to a one on one interview with Joe Rogan. Place the one on one interview with Sonnen on the PPV or Fight Pass.

  2. rst says:

    “The Sonnen story didn’t trend on Twitter. Nary a peep. Didn’t explode.”

    For an MMA blogosphere that acts like the national enquirer when it suits them, the Chael story did get a headline but not nearly as dwelled on as Jon Jones “ducking” Gustaffson or Rousy nominated for an espy for instance.
    dana’s twitter posse apologists may have kinda had an arguable point that “Chael is retired now, who cares any more”. But they really dont.
    Chael isn’t that far removed, he’s been retired for less then a month.
    And its not only a comment on Chael, but on the UFC and their enabling and handling of drugs and characters like Chael and the still hanging around and on the verge of a title shot belfort.

    The only people really making any comment or putting any thought into it are the handful of usual troublemakers,
    FO, Ben Fowlkes…
    thats almost it these days.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    If you’re in the business of fight promotion and you’re trying to grow your brand or even just retain fans, fighting in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, or other states with bad commissions seems like the wrong way to do that. At this point though, nothing the UFC does seems to make sense from the perspective of picking up new fans or retaining the ones they had, so, sure. Why not give away 8,000 tickets for a world title fight in Dallas?

  4. Chris says:

    Nothing to add to that Zach.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    The UFC on Chael’s 2nd failed drug test:

    “Our stance on the subject remains absolutely the same: We support the commission and we will continue to ensure that all UFC competitors compete on an even playing field, free of performance-enhancing drugs and banned substances.”

    Dana White after Chael’s 1st failed drug test:

    When asked who was at fault: “Both are at fault”.

    He also said: “This has been lingering. This stuff was legal. TRT was legal, then the Nevada State Athletic Commission said it’s illegal now, it’s gotta go away, but there’s gonna be effects of stopping this thing cold turkey. It just doesn’t work that way.”

    So White supported Chael Sonnen in some capacity after the first failed drug test and also tried to place blame on the NSAC. And now there stance on the subject remains absolutely the same? Come on, that is total BS.

    Let the UFC sink to the bottom of the ocean….

    • Jason says:

      Dana’s right about the first failed test. HCG and Clomid are used to help a person come off steroids. If you don’t use both of those compounds it will take months and months for your natural testosterone to come back. The HGH and EPO that he was popped for on his second test have nothing to do with coming off steroids, other than pure performance enhancing reasons. What needed to happen is when the athletic commission declared TRT will no longer be allowed, they needed to allow a “grace period” for fighters to allow the bodies to return to normal with the allowance of HCG and Clomid. At the same time, they should have also prohibited any fighter from fighting within said grace period.

  6. Fluyid says:

    Chael’s gone.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Reminds me of what happened to Tarver after he popped.

      • Fluyid says:

        Very true. Tarver got replaced and Showtime never looked back. Who will be Fox Sports’ Malignaggi?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Sounds like they’re going with Stann to me. He isn’t TERRIBLE but Malignaggi he isn’t. BTW, was replacing Tarver with Paulie not the greatest upgrade in expert commentators ever?

  7. rst says:

    “Following second failed drug test, UFC and FOX cut ties with Chael Sonnen”

    Oh wow!
    I really didn’t see that coming.
    I was only expecting to be “surprised” by the level of absurdity UFC’s excuses would rise to.

    Good for Zuffa, this is for the best IMO.
    Chael will be just fine.

    He’s lost something here due to his own actions, but there are still plenty of places in this country where his faults are considered attributes.

    And couldn’t he go to WWE?
    He’s got friends there and they get a few smaller guys on their shows sometimes like X-Pac.
    He could even jack himself to the gills on TRT now and look like Overeem in a few months.

    • Keith Harris says:

      Given the nature of his UFC departure, I can’t see WWE having much interest. They’ve already got Brock Lesnar doing the shoot fighter gimmick.

      TNA/Bellator is a much more likely destination for Chael, unless this is a Daniel Bryan “firing” by Fox/UFC.

      • RST says:

        Good point.

        And thinking about it at 37 I dont think his body can take the bumps and bruises of rasslin for long.
        Although its not a “sport” those dudes do take a physical beating.

        He could go over sea’s and continue to do MMA, but his mouthpiece skills are better then his championship potential by now IMO. He should run with that down hollywood way or somewhere were he can sell his skill for talking.

  8. RST says:

    Now brookhouse is suddenly writing articles trashing Sonnen. Making his usual self riotous race card and xenophobia accusations (Who is Sonnen afraid of? Any non Brazilian in their right mind wouldn’t go to Brazil. Sonnen did), and piling on NOW after the fact.
    Now that its okay and a hip thing to do.
    What a brave and fearless journalist he’s sure that he is.

  9. Muscle Hamster says:

    Generally, the discussion of TUEs surrounds MMA vs. Olympics but it seems there is something in between.

    “Between the therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) granted Rodriguez in 2007 for testosterone and one in 2008 for Clomid, a drug used to help women get pregnant and men create more testosterone, baseball for two years sanctioned PED use by someone who turned out to be one of its most notorious PED users.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/no-one-wins-in-revelation-that-mlb-granted-permission-for-a-rod-to-use-peds-205121543.html

  10. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Dana White: “Metamoris is ‘absolutely something we’d look at for Fight Pass”

    Metamoris founder Ralek Gracie…

    “We are not cutting Chael Sonnen from the Metamoris 4 card on August 9th. Because we don’t currently test for PEDs.”

    I wonder what Danas next statement will be? Will he in the future be providing access and promoting an event with a couple of known steroid cheats?
    The real dana would simply say…”Metamoris is absolutely something joe rogan and myself would like to compete in.”

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