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Chael Sonnen Admitted to Taking Performance-Enhancing Drug in Pre-UFC 117 Screening

Written by Tom Ngo
September 20th, 2010
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UFC Middleweight Chael Sonnen

According to reports, Chael Sonnen admitted to California State Athletic Commission executive director George Dodd he used an illegal performance-enhancing drug leading up to his UFC 117 showdown with middleweight king Anderson Silva.

“He only indicated that he was taking it, but he never indicated why,” Dodd told SI.com on Monday evening. “[Sonnen] just let me know he was taking [something] and that’s when I called over an inspector to get it documented. But when you do take it you still have to show a medical reason.”

The chatty challenger was floored with a “stomach bug” early fight week and it’s believed that’s when he opted to go the PED route. Although Sonnen alerted Dodd on the day of weigh-ins that he used an illegal substance, that’s not standard operating procedure. The 33-year-old failed to note it on his pre-fight questionnaire or provide proper documentation about the use of the drug which triggered the positive result.

“Whenever you’re taking an enhancing drug, you have to let the commission know prior to even taking the test that you’re taking, and what the medical reasons are why you’re taking the drug,” Dodd stated. “That way we can verify with our commission doctors that the reason you’re taking that is the reason you should be on that type of drug. You can’t just come in and say, ‘Hey, I’m taking this,’ and think that’s going to get you off.”

According to the report, the commission first caught wind of Sonnen’s “abnormally high levels of testosterone” on September 2nd but were awaiting confirmation from a second sample submitted to UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the same lab used by the U.S. Olympic Committee, before notifying Sonnen.

The part-time realtor has 30 days to file an appeal with the CSAC. Should he choose to go that direction, he will be granted an opportunity to speak at the commission’s next meeting on December 2nd in Sacramento. If Sonnen doesn’t appeal the test results, Dodd said he will be suspended until September 2, 2011 and fined $2,500.

Sunday, the MMA world got flipped upside down when Sherdog.com reported Sonnen had flunked his UFC 117 drug screening.

Sonnen dominated “The Spider” for the majority of their scrap on August 7th. Although a momentary lapse in concentration cost him the opportunity of a lifetime, Octagon brass felt his critically acclaimed pre-fight comedy roast and effort in Oakland warranted an immediate rematch.

The middleweights were expected to meet after the champion recovered from a pre-UFC 117 rib injury, either on New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. It appeared as though February 6th was the front-runner to land the mulligan, but Sonnen’s impending suspension will put that chatter to bed.

My questions for Dodd:

* What day did Sonnen have to submit his pre-fight questionnaire?
* When should he have notified you and provided the documentation regarding the PED?
* What PED exactly did Sonnen take?
* If Sonnen would have followed SOP, would he have been cleared given the drug and his reason?

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