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Chael Sonnen: Because I got punished for TRT, expect many fighters to hide their drug usage

By Zach Arnold | July 10, 2011

Print Friendly and PDF interview by Ariel Helwani with Chael Sonnen at UFC 132

Whenever Chael Sonnen does a media interview these days, it’s hard to find much of what he says to be substantive. He’s all gimmick, at this point, and given the many folks in the media who are willing to be enablers in order to get a few hits at the expense of being humiliated, Chael takes advantage of it. Fine. My scope of interest for his interviews is often limited.

In this (now) famous interview that was uploaded online a couple of days ago, Sonnen turns his gimmick on full blast when trashing Brazil and the Brazilian contingency in the UFC. He dumped all over Wanderlei Silva being employed by the UFC with a 2-8 record (his words) and claiming that it’s the worst record ever for a UFC fighter both in the SEG days and under Zuffa ownership. He went on to say that ‘the Japan circuit’ (PRIDE) was essentially fake and that the outcomes of fights for Fedor, Cro Cop, Nogueira, and Wanderlei were rigged and that the referees had earpieces to tell the opponents when to take dives. If you’re into Sonnen ‘comedy,’ then I suppose you’ll be interested in this. To me, Chael Sonnen ‘comedy’ is about as enticing as WWE ‘comedy.’

With all of that stated, there was one part of this interview that did catch my attention and has flown under the radar in many circles. The opening context here starts with Ariel discussing Chael’s suspension just ending. This interview was taped before UFC announced that Sonnen would be facing Brian Stann in October in Houston, Texas.

ARIEL HELWANI: “Does it feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders here?”

CHAEL SONNEN: “If you’re a professional athlete, you don’t have the right to complain about anything. I hear these guys come out and they’re crying and they’re whining and it’s ‘poor me’ and I always thought, what a wonderful world you must live in if that is a big deal, you know, with all the things that are going on and the adversity a person has to face and you’ve got to learn to deal with that stuff and, uh… you know, just because you get a little negative press or you end up in a little red tape here and there, you got to know how to deal with that if you’re going to get anything done in this world. I can’t imagine, I mean I watch just the average folks have bigger problems with a day being a good husband or being a good father, uh… look, I’m a professional athlete, I’m not entitled to do that. I have an opportunity to do it, it’s a luxury, and nobody owes that to me and I’ve never felt like a victim in this whole thing. It was a nuisance, but that’s where it ends.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You say it’s a luxury, though, but was there a point where you thought you might never get a shot to fight again, another shot, because it seemed as though for a while one thing after the next was piling on you?”

CHAEL SONNEN: “Well, yeah, probably, it’s hard to completely remember all the different emotions you go through. You get a call one day that says one thing and makes you think, well, looks like it’s the end of the line, and then understanding the rules is tough, too. Somebody tells you you’re suspended, you get information from one state and trust that and then you learn that’s not exactly right or maybe that was relayed to me wrong or maybe I interpreted it wrong. So, the rules and the process constantly changes and so does your mentality, you know, so, yeah, there were times where I thought this might be the end of the road. It was up and down and that was probably the hardest part was the emotional, it was highs and it was lows, it was so drastic, there was nothing ever steady about it, you know, it was either ‘aw, man, I got some really good news today,’ ‘oh, wow, did I get some bad news.’

ARIEL HELWANI: “Your name has obviously been in the news (recently) because your suspension expired and you’re free fight. You also came into the news because people started to link your story to Nate Marquardt’s because Testosterone Replacement Therapy came up and you are kind of the first fighter where this really came up and we started to learn more about it. What’s your take, if you have any, on what happened to Nate Marquardt with him getting released and suspended and whatnot in Pennsylvania?”

CHAEL SONNEN: “Well, let me preface any statement I make with two things. First off, all I can really do is kind of guess to say, well, this is what I think because I don’t actually know. And secondly, to say Nate is a very good guy, um… behind everything you see, he’s a good guy, he loves his family, he’s good to his wife, if he tells you something you can trust him, he’s a good, nice, kind person and… all I know about it is what I saw on your show and I think that Nate was very forthcoming and honest, I think it’s important to understand Nate did not break any rules… he did not fight with an illegal substance or a banned substance or any kind. At the same time… I left that interview thinking, okay, Nate, I believe you, I believe everything you just said, I also think there’s a couple of things you haven’t said. I don’t know that, but for my own opinion from my office watching that on my laptop, I thought there was a couple of things that probably still haven’t come out.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Are fighters abusing TRT in your opinion? Because you’ve talked about it, this is a medical condition, you need this. Are there people, in your opinion, in this sport and in sports in general who are abusing this and using this as a PED?”

CHAEL SONNEN: “I can tell you the frustration I have with mine is when you look at the rules and you say, okay, I’m a rule guy, I’m a rule follower, I’m going to follow this rule. Here’s what I need to do if I’m going to be on this medication. So, you come forward and you start the big fire, you wave the big flag. You show, this is what I’m doing. Then they use that against you. That’s where it becomes very frustrating. I think, because of that, there’s a lot of guys (now) that are going to say, ‘hey, listen, I’m going to do this, I’m just not going to come forward like Chael did, I’m not going to do it correctly, I’m going to hide it because these guys at the commission are going to punish me, they’re going to use it against me.’ And so… I think I’ll leave it at that but I think that… you know, if the commissions don’t like the rule then, please, by all means, change the rule. But don’t allow somebody to do something and then turn the gun on them and say, ‘you did this and you shouldn’t have,’ when you go, wait a minute, you said that I could, it’s right there in your rules. So, I think that makes it tough.”

Juxtapose this to the comments Dennis Hallman made to Bas Rutten about TRT usage. I’m not sure where all of this is heading in terms of either further discussion or action but it certainly is gaining some traction publicly.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 31 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

31 Responses to “Chael Sonnen: Because I got punished for TRT, expect many fighters to hide their drug usage”

  1. Geno Mrosko says:

    Uh … what? Is he really saying he “waved the big flag” and was completely transparent with his TRT treatments and was blacklisted anyway?

    If anyone has a legitimate claim to that, it’s Marquardt, and if anyone doesn’t, it’s Sonnen.

    Hallman brought up a great point and that’s really where the discussion is headed. While Bas Rutten is blasting away at people who use it, it takes someone like Hallman to stand up to him and tell him why there really are legitimate reasons for fighters to need treatments.

    However, that, in and of itself, is an opening to be exploited by fighters looking to get whatever edge they can. Which is where the commissions come in. They HAVE to monitor and do everything by the book and if things get out of hand, bring down the hammer.

    There’s absolutely no reason a creative solution cannot be reached on this subject.

    • The Gaijin says:

      You’re surprised that he’s trying to claim his martyrdom and whine about the “unfairness” he’s faced?

      More complete fucking drivel from a useless B-level fighter that has managed to capture the attention of the mouthbreather set to gain heat. Oddly convenient that he also made his “championship challenger” run on the exact timeline that he was using his TRT.

  2. Kalle says:

    Right, Sonnen is the guy who follows rules. That’s why he got that felony conviction.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Has it really gained traction outside of the typical internet fanbase?

  4. david m says:

    Chael is my favorite fighter based purely on his interviews. Anyone who wasn’t cracking up at some of the stuff he said has no sense of humor. Some of his insults about PRIDE were dead on. I have thought that Pride was more based on steroids, but he has a valid point involving some of the refereeing/administrative stuff. Things like the Japanese trying to force Guy Mezger to do another round w Saku after Guy had clearly won the bout, PRIDE forcing Rampage to cut like 25 pounds in 1 day to fight Saku, Coleman-Takada work, etc etc. I think Mirko Randleman 2 was a work.

  5. larrycraig says:

    “pride was more based on steroids”

    No wonder you are a such fan of Sonnen. With idiotic statements like that. You also probably believe that sonnen’s “condition” is occurring naturally and not because of excessive steroid use over the years?? Your xenophobia is pretty much at the same level as sonnen’s, in that you also believe in ALL of those works in pride by the evil japanese.

  6. re: fixed fights in Pride. That’s ridiculous! Except, well…

    That wasn’t the only incident, I’m sure of it. That’s not to say he’s right about Nog, Cro Cop, Fedor etcetera. However, there is a point hidden deep behind the clown outfit that is Sonnen’s media appearances when it comes to people looking at PRIDE with rose-tinted glasses.

    Not that he isn’t either a pathetic liar or completely out of his mind. It’s just that, you know, Japan WAS kind of a lawless land when it came to drug regulation (or a complete and utter lack thereof).

    • Mr.roadblock says:

      I haven’t seen that garbage in years. I forgot about how Bas gets all upset and loses his interest in the fight early on when he realizes he’s calling a wrestling match. It’s like he wants to stand up and go home.

    • edub says:

      I always thought Silva-Overeem was the worst. It was like hey here’s my foot, take it.

    • jack says:

      Maybe youre xenophobic because you JUST said that you find everything Sonnen says to be funny…

      And at least half of all he says are racist, bigoted, xenophobic comments about brazilians…. hmmm…

  7. david m says:

    You are a smart one, I can tell.

    I am a fan of Sonnen because he is a great talker while most mma fighters don’t say anything remotely interesting. I’m not sure why you are so angry about this, maybe your tampon is in a little too far.

    My xenophobia? What the hell do you know about me? If saying that Japan had some worked fights and that Japanese promoters are shady as fuck makes one xenophobic, then sign me up! You sound like the fucking thought police. Go jump off a building.

    I know from your post you can’t reed guud, so I will try to explain this in small words: you accused me of being xenophobic for bringing up 2 fights, 1 of which was a confirmed work, the other of which I am fairly certain was a work. Everything else I mentioned is indisputable; Rampage has given many interviews about what he had to do the day before his Saku fight (which was not in his contract), and Pride tried to change the length of the Mezger-Saku fight after it was clear that Mezger had won.

    If you don’t think PRIDE was full of rampant roiders, then perhaps you are even more retarded than you have shown yourself to be (I am not sure if that is even possible).

  8. EJ says:

    You’re trying way too hard to sound like you’re above Sonnen’s gimmick and it’s showing Zach. Trying to compare Sonnen’s hillarious interviews with WWE comedy is the perfect example of that.

    If Vince had guys who could talk like Sonnen maybe his product wouldn’t be as unwatchable as it is. Because Sonnen simply sitting down to talk for a couple of minutes is vastly more entertaining than anything on Raw or Smackdown aside from a CM Punk semi-shoot.

    Sonnen is legitimately funny and entertaining in his promos why people like you try to play it off that he’s not baffles me. And it really shows just how good he is at playing his part because he can get under the skin of even people who know what he’s doing that’s some talent.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      You’re trying way too hard to sound like you’re above Sonnen’s gimmick and it’s showing Zach. Trying to compare Sonnen’s hillarious interviews with WWE comedy is the perfect example of that.

      I am serious when I say that the xenophobic anti-Brazilian act doesn’t entertain me. It really doesn’t, mainly because it’s so stupid and inaccurate. By no means am I a mark for Anderson Silva, either.

      I’m not ‘above’ anything — I just am neutral/bored with his act. I’ve been rather consistent about this.

      His act doesn’t get under my skin. I could care less on that front. What I do care about is that he’s a TRT user. Furthermore, I cannot stand doping in this sport (no matter how prevalent it is.)

      • The Gaijin says:

        Don’t pay any attention to EJ Zach. This is his MO.

        Sonnen is the HIALRZIOZZ!!1!1 (or “hillarious” if you will) and if you don’t like him in any way shape or form, then it’s really b/c he is just THAT good at what he does because “it’s getting under your skin”, you see. That is just how GENIUS he is, and it’s too bad ol’ E-to-the-J is one of the few that can appreciate this.

        It’s a played and boring routine and 99% of it is “funny” in the way that Manswers is “entertaining”. Plain and simple, he’s a B-level fighter that’s taken internet messageboard trolling added in cheating and steroid abuse and garnered a following of the lowest common denominator b/c he “cuts heel wrestling promos”.

      • EJ says:

        It clearly does Zach and the worse thing is that people like you can’t seem to admit that. The very fact that you and others keep reaching by calling him xenophobic and other things shows that.

        Sonnen’s act is all about getting an emotinal response to the over the top stuff that he’s saying. And it’s proven to work incredibly well on people like Gaijin, who you can’t even bring up his name around without him going on a rant about the guy.

        If you were bored by the act then you wouldn’t even pay attention to or take serious anything he was saying. You wouldn’t reach by calling him xenophobic when it’s just an act and would treat it a such.

        • The Gaijin says:

          This is seriously hilarious. It’s amazing that you still can’t discern between two very different things, but par for the course given the “intelligence” you’ve displayed on this site time after time.

          I mainly rant about the people that like Sonnen, basically the people that “feed the troll” (we’ll bring the analogies into your wheelhouse kid ;))…and the fact that he’s actually found a subset of mma fans that buy this schtick – it’s old, it’s tired, it’s hackneyed, it’s cliche and the worst of all is that 99% of it is not funny. But idiots like you eat it up with a soup ladle and ask for seconds, so we have to keep hearing it. Let’s not forget the guy is a scumbag cheater that wouldn’t even be in the conversation for anything at middleweight if he wasn’t rampantly cheating by ingesting/injecting illegal substances under some horseshit ruse of having the testes (or lack thereof) of a prepubscent boy. Now I’m pretty sure he didn’t get busted for steroids and make a completely pathetic jackass out of himself to “get an emotional response from people”…or he is the most dedicated to their craft guy that ever existed.

          For his act to “work” I’d actually have to listen to more than 30 seconds of his interviews, buy something of his or generally buy ppvs to watch him get beat up. I do none of those things and instead just shake my head in disgust at the dummies that get their jollies off by blow-harding about how he’s “working the fans”. I don’t need to pay to see him get subbed like a chump by anyone with a green belt in BJJ or win boring wrestlefests aided by performance enhancing drugs…I just continue on with my life and wait for the day that we don’t have to hear/see/talk about this B-level scrub.

        • EJ says:

          You’re not fooling anyone Gaijin, you’re post basically just proved everything I said about you was true. And the more you try to deny it the clearer that becomes, that’s the really funny part about all of this.

          It’s just how hard you and others reach to prove to everyone how unfunny and tired and how non-emotional you are to what Sonnen is saying yet in the end you play right into his hands. By going on over emotional rants about the guy, basically you’re getting worked big time while screaming no i’m not and fooling no one.

        • The Gaijin says:

          You’re seriously really intelligent kid.

          Who is screaming? I’m sorry but I’m actually not having the reaction you hope/wish I was. LET ME REPEAT IT FOR YOU SINCE YOU SEEM TO BE A LITTLE SLOW HERE – he gets little reaction from me and maybe even the opposite of which he’s hoping – I don’t watch a ppv or tv shows b/c of him nor do I watch his interviews b/c I know it’s the same old tired recycled crud.

          I basically ignore anything Sonnen related because I know exactly what to expect and that doesn’t entertain me in the least – consider it a voting with my dollars.

          As nottheface pointed out it’s retarded fans like you that are so enamored by his routine and that (a) think he’s some awesome promo guy and (b) try to project some wished imaginary reaction from others that isn’t there that make me shake my head. Because sadly his dog and pony show keeps getting shoved center stage instead of, ya’know, deserving and talented fighters.

          Sorry to rain on your parade kid.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Sorry, I keep forgetting that giving a reasoned response and an explanation is considered overly “emotional response”!

          I’ll to remember to post like you and just keep it to completely trollish banter with no supportive back-up and/or running away to never be heard from again on a topic after trying to do some chickensh*t hit-and-run posting.

  9. Rich Hansen says:

    Sonnen bores me. I feel nothing about him, his routine, or his situation. I pretty much ignore anything he has to say, as well as people’s reactions to his attempts to stir up controversy. I’ll watch his fights, and appreciate his skills, but other than that, meh. I just kinda shake my head and click the next link.

  10. Keith Harris says:

    I agree that Chael’s act is tired and in poor taste. Him continuing to falsely position himself as a rule abiding martyr that’s been persecuted by inconsistent commissions was more amusing than his stand up act making fun of Brazilian fighters. Such brazen lies really expose that he doesn’t care about being licensed in Nevada or California. And why should he? The UFC is happy to book him in major fights in other states with more lax commissions that will likely rubber stamp his TRT use. The only incentive to get licensed in those states is a spot as a TUF coach and the window on that opportunity has closed for the time being.

    The PRIDE jokes were clever, from the sense that I’m sure Dana White got a big kick out of them. Keep earning those brownie points from your boss Chael and you can’t go too far wrong.

  11. Zack says:

    Sonnen bores me too.

  12. Light23 says:

    I find it funny that Zach hates Sonnen interviews. That was seriously the best pro wrestling promo I’ve heard in a decade, and Sonnen isn’t even in pro wrestling.

    • Light23 says:

      Reading the comments here, it’s apparent that you’re all such marks for Sonnen. He’s managing to make you hate him. Hilarious.

  13. The Gaijin says:

    Honestly it really troubles me that a lot mma fans can’t tell the difference between:



    2. *Groan* I wish this B-level idiot would shut up with his horribly 1-D “gimmick”. He’s a boring fighter, a cheater and scumbag and I’m tired of people giving “oxygen” to his crap.

    One is an effective, Howard Stern-like reaction where you will listen/pay attention/buy/raise awareness of them and the other is an “X-Pac Heat”, I’m changing the channel/skipping this story reaction.

    • Zheroen says:


    • nottheface says:

      I completely side with the Gaijin on this point. What drives me nuts isn’t as much Chael as his fans that so are enamored with his Andrew “Dice” Clay act and his “Oh, man he’s doing kayfabe” routine that he is forced down are throats both in the MMA media and ,thanks to his new found drawing power, on major card spots. Here is a fighter, while good, has never proven himself to be elite. Whose career and performance against Silva are tainted by PEDs. and who blatantly lied to a commission, showing complete contempt for the NSAC. But hey, entertaining halfwits is more important than respecting the power of an AC.

      • The Gaijin says:

        NTF – great article btw. Very interesting…sad that the usual suspects can’t seem to see the forest for the trees and start dribbling the same lame counterarguments yet again.

  14. Kelvin Hunt says:

    Sonnen is entertaining to me…I’d rather listen to him talk smack than listen to 97% of the other cardboard personalities in MMA try to tell you how they are going to take their opponents head off.

    If you take everything he says literally…you have issues.

  15. Kalle says:

    The problem with people saying that Sonnen is just playing up his heel character when he’s talking smack and we should all just take it in stride is that it doesn’t explain the TRT, the lying to the AC, or the felony conviction. Sonnen’s real character is evidently that of a scumbag so how much of this heel act is really an act?

    He’s got too much baggage for me to buy into the entertaining persona.

  16. The Gaijin says:

    Now THIS is awesome (From Ring magazine site):

    “[…] but one thing is certain: [Paul] Williams, who THE RING ranked No. 3 at middleweight following his second-round KO loss to champ Sergio Martinez last November, has dropped in the magazine’s 160-pound rankings.

    “The majority decision in favor of Paul Williams over Erislandy Lara was so egregious, the Editorial Board, with unanimous support from the Advisory Panel, decided the only fair course of action was to promote Lara and demote Williams,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “The horrendous verdict spoiled what had otherwise been a good weekend of boxing and is just the sort of injustice that turns fans away from the sport.”

    Williams (40-2, 27 KOs) dropped five places in the middleweight rankings, from No. 3 to No. 8. Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs) debuted at No. 5 in the junior middleweight rankings on the strength of his excellent showing against Williams.”

    Effin’ eh. A little bit of justice.


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