Chael Sonnen Offers Confusing Explanation for Failed Drug Test

Written by Tom Ngo
June 10th, 2014

UFC Middleweight Chael Sonnen

Shortly after news broke Tuesday that veteran Chael Sonnen (pictured) tested positive for Anastrozole and Clomiphene in last month’s random drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Sonnen appeared as a guest on “America’s Pregame” on Fox Sports 1 to address his latest mishap.

Sonnen admitted to taking the banned substances in order to combat life without testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which was banished by the NSAC in February.

Sonnen’s primary defense is that he took a legal substance that is banned, as opposed to an illegal one that is banned.

But they’re still banned, though, right?

He reiterated that they are not performance-enhancing drugs.

“There is a transition period [when you get off TRT],” Sonnen stated. “I couldn’t have been more open or more transparent about this, whether it was on ‘UFC Tonight’ or different interviews in different places, anybody that I could tell, that I could talk to about this, I did.”

Um, I don’t remember ever hearing Sonnen admitting to taking banned substances until after his failed drug test came to light today. Also, how about just telling the NSAC when you spoke to them on May 13 to get licensed for UFC 175, roughly three months after you claimed to have stopped taking TRT, that you were on banned substances?

Sonnen also believes that because he didn’t test positive on game night, but did while “out of competition,” he shouldn’t be punished.

The problem with that argument is that Sonnen should have obtained a therapeutic-use exemption for those substances because they are also banned while out of competition. Furthermore, realistically, how many days out of the year are fighters not “out of competition”?

Sonnen also admitted to taking Clomifene and hCG to get acclimated after quitting TRT. UFC featherweight Dennis Siver is currently serving a nine month suspension for taking hCG.

Speaking of TRT, Sonnen said he was “a user of testosterone, not an abuser.”


Four years ago, Sonnen failed a drug test after losing to then-middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117 when he clocked a testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio of 16.9:1, more than four times the legal limit permitted by the California State Athletic Commission. The average man has a T/E ratio of 1:1.

Sonnen seemed to spin himself into a corner with much of what he was spewing, but this contradictory line took the cake.

“I took a legal substance that I need to operate within the rules, of which they changed,” Sonnen said.

If you were operating within the rules then you wouldn’t have failed your second drug test, right?

Sonnen was slated to fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 175. Now that the July 5 shootout is scrapped, he will appeal the failed drug test with the NSAC. 

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