Winners never cheat and cheaters never win. While the jury is still out on how Chael Sonnen fits into that ethical adage, UFC president Dana White knows exactly where the former top contender sits on the middleweight totem pole following his flunked UFC 117 drug test.
“Here’s the thing you guys have got to understand, I’ve been in this business for 10 years. I’ve been in the fight business since I was 19. There’s a lot of stuff you guys don’t know,” White told a group of reporters following Thursday’s UFC 119 press conference. “Am I disappointed? Yes, absolutely.
“Chael’s always been great. I don’t want to get involved in this thing.”
He may not want to be affiliated with the drawn-out appeals process Sonnen is facing with the California State Athletic Commission, but he can certainly sympathize with his fallen former #1 contender. Although Anderson Silva escaped with his title courtesy of a last-minute Hail Mary, nobody’s stock skyrocketed more from a loss than Sonnen’s.
“You think about the sentence that is going to be imposed by the commission on him, however this whole thing plays out, and you look at the position he was just in. [He] was riding high, coming off that fight [with Silva]. What more could you do to this guy?” White rhetorically asked.
“He’s gonna get torn all the way back down and have to work his way all the way back up after he’s been working for years to do this.”
Sonnen was 110 seconds away from taking down the planet’s baddest 185-pounder and was granted an immediate rematch for his impressive showing. Now that his performance is seemingly tainted, the chatty political hopeful has definitely lost his place in line and the show will certainly roll on without him.
“Who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen? How long is the suspension, a year? A year is a long time to sit out and the landscape changes a lot in a year,” White said of his dynamic middleweight division. “Anderson Silva could be retired in a year.
“This kid lost a huge opportunity. Chael’s … it will be interesting to see what happens.”
Sonnen was expected to appear as an in-studio guest tonight on ESPN2’s MMA Live, however canceled at the 11th hour for undisclosed reasons. He is scheduled to appeal his suspension at the CSAC’s December 2nd meeting in Sacramento.