Athletic Commission Tall Tales Come Back to Bite Chael Sonnen in Nevada

OAKLAND CA - AUGUST 07: Chael Sonnen punches Anderson Silva while on the ground (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In a recent administrative hearing in California, UFC star Chael Sonnen was desperate to get out from under a year long suspension, imposed when his testosterone levels were sky high for his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117. Sonnen's defense was that he was under the long term care of a doctor to help regulate the levels of testosterone in his body. He claimed that he had informed the California Commission of his condition before his fight with Yushin Okami in 2009 and that he had also spoken to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer. Dropping Kizer's name appears it may have been a big mistake.

The California Commission, seemingly tired of hearing competing testimony in a complicated case, simply reduced Sonnen's suspension in half and called it a day. It doesn't look like the Team Quest fighter will have that kind of speedy resolution in Nevada. According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer and online reports from Heavy.com, Kizer was not amused - and is going to make it hard for Sonnen when his California suspension is up in 2011. According to the Observer (subscription required):

He said that if Sonnen, whose license in Nevada expires at the end of the year, wants to get licensed to fight in 2011 after his California suspension expires, he won’t get the usual administrative approval. He said that Sonnen is going to have to go before the commission, explain why he made the statements about Kizer and him talking, explain why he claimed he had used testosterone since 2008 but never listed it on his forms, as well as how he would have passed the tests...

Regarding any rumors of Sonnen as a coach of the next season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show, I don’t even know if there would be anything to those rumors, because the timing wouldn’t be good. Even if UFC wanted it, there would be licensing issues. The season starts in February. TUF coaches have to get second’s licenses because the show is filmed in Las Vegas. Sonnen is on suspension in California through March and Nevada recognizes that suspension. Sonnen would have to get specific commission approval to get the second’s license and the his suspension in California not having ended would play a part in the hearing he’d have to go through. There is no hard and fast rule like he couldn’t be a second because of a suspension in another state as a fighter, but it would not be a rubber stamp procedure either.

Sonnen spins a good tale. It helped him cloud the minds of the California Commission, a jedi-like power making it clear to them 'this wasn't the suspension they were looking for.' But it has cost him in Nevada. A better strategy might have been to simply claim confusion over the California policy. After all, the Commission members themselves seemed confused about their own policies. Throwing Kizer under the bus was taking things a step too far. And while MMA fans seem the forgiving sort, Kizer may not be. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time he wants to fight in Nevada.

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