Former UFC top contender Chael Sonnen (pictured) is 39, hasn’t been seen since getting dusted by Rashad Evans in November 2013, has been finished in three of his last four fights, and is as close to a walking failed drug test as they come in MMA.
So why did Bellator MMA sign arguably the biggest PED cheater the sport has ever witnessed, especially since they are just seven months removed from having the biggest show in company history be tainted because the card’s two biggest stars tested positive for multiple performance-enhancing drugs?
Desperate times call for desperate measures, apparently. However, that doesn’t mean Bellator’s desperation to gain ground on industry leader UFC doesn’t come with an expensive caveat if Sonnen decides to revert to his cheating ways.
According to Sonnen, there is big, bold writing in his new multi-fight, multi-year Bellator contract stating he will be severely fined if he flunks a drug test.
“If I was to fail a [drug] test under my Bellator contract, it would cost me 100 percent of my purse and $500,000,” Sonnen shared on Friday’s introductory conference call.
Financial terms of Sonnen’s deal were not disclosed, so it’s unknown how much he’ll be docked in total if he fails a drug exam under Bellator’s watch. However, Sonnen claimed it was “the biggest deal I’ve ever signed.”
Per Sonnen, the USADA, the independent third-party agency the UFC hired to conduct random year-round drug tests on their entire roster, had already tested him approximately four times prior to signing with Bellator, and all screenings came back clean.
“If I was flagged by USADA, [Bellator president Scott Coker] wouldn’t be talking to me,” Sonnen said, while admitting he is embarrassed by his past PED transgressions.
The good news for Sonnen (wink-wink) is that Coker currently has no intention of hiring an independent drug testing agency to run year-round testing on Bellator’s fighters.
“Our policy is that we always abide by what the state athletic commission wants to do,” Coker stated.
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre once stated that it was far too easy to cheat by merely drug testing mixed martial artists on fight night, “The way they test now [right after the fight], it’s not good. It’s not good the way they test. If you get caught on steroids right now, it’s because you’re very disorganized. It’s so easy to beat the test. It’s ridiculous. It’s not a real test.”
Well, Sonnen might just be semi-disorganized then because only one of his past three flunked drugs were on fight night. The last two were random exams, so at least he won’t have to worry about that under Bellator’s banner.
Sonnen was slated to fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 175 in July 2014. He promptly retired from MMA after his first random drug test showed signs of Anastrozole, Clomiphene and human chorionic gonadotropin.
A second random exam revealed Sonnen tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) and hCG.
Sonnen was then relieved of his broadcasting duties with the UFC and FOX.
Of course, it wasn’t the first occasion Sonnen had cheated during his fighting career. He 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.