(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
It looks like Chael Sonnen's lies have caught up with him again. After failing a drug test after UFC 117 he was suspended by the California Athletic Commission. He managed to get the suspension reduced by appearing before the CSAC, but in doing so he made some claims about having had conversations with Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Those claims were false.
He also pled guilty to a felony on a federal money laundering charge and has been "suspended" by the UFC while he awaits sentencing on April 8th.
The UFC was exploring the possibility of Sonnen coming back to coach The Ultimate Fighter opposite the similarly-if-not-equally-controversial Michael Bisping. I wrote about the difficulties that created for NSAC ED Kizer the other day. Basically the whole project hinged on Sonnen being able to convince Kizer that he should be willing to license a man who had perjured himself under oath during his CSAC hearing and done it by invoking Kizer's name as initially reported by Cage Side Seats.
We live in an era of captured government when everyone expects government regulators to do the bidding of large corporations, but Sonnen has apparently gone a bridge too far for Kizer who is now commenting on the outcome of the meeting between he, Sonnen and UFC officials three weeks ago.
From MMA Junkie:
"With his explanations, I don't know how productive of a meeting it was. I really did expect a much more constructive meeting out of that. But it just wasn't there. I think Zuffa tried; I know we tried. I put the blame completely on Mr. Sonnen."
"His point was, 'Well, you and I have never talked before right now, but I don't think I lied,'" Kizer said.
"Then he gave some very strange story and claimed, 'My manager and you talked about therapeutic exemptions, and therefore, I just used the wrong word. I should have said 'my' instead of 'I.' As in 'my manager' instead of 'I.'
"I was very straight with him, saying, 'That's a ridiculous explanation.'"
Kizer also said that Sonnen would have to appear before a full hearing of the NSAC to get a second's license (required to coach TUF) and that he would have to formally address his statements to the CSAC, his felony conviction and his accusations against Referee Josh Rosenthal after his loss to Paulo Filho at WEC 31.
Will Cooling at Inside Fights had some commentary on the prospect of a full hearing for Sonnen:
Such a thorough investigation into whether Sonnen is a man with the character worthy of fighting in the Octagon is long overdue. Repeatedly over the past twelve months and before he has simply lied, lied, lied. Alarmingly that was clear in the build up to the his match with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, with (to pick just two examples) Sonnen was caught lying about not having a twitter account and accusing Lance Armstrong of taking performance enhancing drugs. And yet this pathological pattern of deceit was ignored by the MMA media who were too busy falling in love with his wisecracks and aggressive attitude.
Hopefully following Kizer leads MMA journalists will now start asking the tough questions they should have been asking from the start. Not least there should be a proper look into Sonnen's testimony back on December 2nd. We need to know whether the evidence provided by his doctor was credible given that that the doctor was a local practitioner who seemingly lacked basic knowledge of the side effects of prolonged anabolic steriod use. We need to know why an Olympic level athlete believes its appropriate to secretly inject himself with testosterone in fearsomely large doses. Above all we need to know how a person that since childhood was should have been signficiantly weaker than the average male due to delayed puberty caused by Hypogonadism, had such a glittering athletic career.
There are so many questions that have to be asked as one after another of Chael Sonnen's lies are exposed. Make no mistake about it, as his lies unravel Sonnen is fighting for his very career. And the fact that these lies have been so self defeating shines a light onto Sonnen's character. To put it simply he lies not because its in his interests but because its in his nature.
Kaleb Kelchner at Cage Side Seats added:
Why is it that every guy I know accused of money laundering never lies, just misspeaks? I have no qualms with Sonnen being refused a spot as coach on The Ultimate Fighter, even though it may just be a big talker like him that would spark some interest in the show once again. It would also set a poor example for the UFC to place two fighters who are currently under fire for recent actions in such an esteemed position as coach on TUF. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bisping included still, well, so long as they can find a coach who'd be willing to antagonize him enough to force him to play ball. I'm quite certain though, if Sonnen had come across humbled, and apologetic, we'd likely see him paired with the Brit on season 14 of TUF.
Mayhem Miller has already volunteered to fill Sonnen's shoes, but I doubt the UFC would put such a hard push behind a fighter whose only UFC fight was a welterweight bout six years ago. Then again it certainly makes more business sense than Yushin Okami or Brian Stann as coaches. The winner of Wanderlei Silva vs Chris Leben at UFC 132 would be ideal but I think taping of the show needs to start too soon for that.
As for Sonnen, everything hinges on his sentencing in the felony case on April 8th. Provided that his sentence will allow him to compete, I expect he and the UFC will take the wiser course and avoid trying to get Chael licensed to fight in Nevada for any reason.
It's very sad that Sonnen's personal failings have so thoroughly torpedoed his career. Ironically it was Sonnen's knack for making preposterous claims in public in the build up to UFC 117 that made him a star.
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