The top UFC Middleweight contender was exonerated of substance abuse charges before the California State Athletic Commission in his appeal hearing on Thursday, and his sentence was reduced to 6 months for violations of CSAC notification protocols.
To the shock of the the MMA world back in August, Sonnen delivered on his seemingly laughable promise to dominate the longstanding 185 lbs Champion. "It's not gonna be a fight; it's gonna be a one-sided pounding, and I'm swingin' the hammer." Though Sonnen kept his promise, dominating Silva on the feet and on the ground for 23 minutes, he lost the fight to a last-minute triangle choke by the battered Champion. After the fight, Sonnen's post-fight drug test revealed elevated levels of testosterone in his blood and he was suspended for 1 year by the California State Athletic Commission.
The Commission voted 3-1 on Thursday to reduce that sentence to 6 months from the date of the original ruling, which would allow Sonnen to fight again as early as March 3.
Sonnen and his doctor's testified before the CSAC that Sonnen was diagnosed in January 2008 with Hypogonadism, a condition causing abnormally low levels of Testosterone, suffered by an estimated 20% of adult males, which often result in chronic fatigue and bone loss. Since then, Sonnen has been on a prescribed twice-weekly treatment of Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
Apparently, the on-site doctor to whom Sonnen reported his treatment, was not a representative of the CSAC, but of the UFC, and therefore was not certified to act on behalf of the CSAC.
"At every jurisdiction -- California, England, Nevada -- he was there. He filled out the appropriate paperwork, had a stethoscope, and handled the forms in question,” said Sonnen during his testimony. “It was my understanding that he was a doctor for every commission."
On the pre-fight paperwork, the day before the fight, Sonnen had listed a testosterone shot taken the previous day. But the commission claimed they were not notified of Sonnen's TRT till the night of the fight.
On the issue of TRT, Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, author of “Testosterone for Life” and associate Clinical Professor of Urology at Harvard University, told Sherdog.com:
“If somebody is not [naturally] making enough testosterone, then they are at an unfair position. If it were a thyroid or insulin deficiency, nobody would have a problem with those treatments."
"nearly 20 percent of adult men suffer from this medical condition, ‘Low T,’ in which the body produces too little testosterone, sapping strength, weakening bones and causing chronic fatigue. They need testosterone treatment to restore their levels to a normal range.”
According to Sherdog,
"the CSAC did cite that, while Sonnen’s test results of the ratio itself were high, his actual range of testosterone was within the normal levels for adult males."
Sonnen told Mike Straka:
“The testosterone levels were not elevated. That’s what we were able to prove today”. “We were not found guilty of any substance abuse, but we were found guilty of a protocol issue, and frankly, I still don’t know the correct protocol that they would like to see in California.”
Sound off, Maniacs! Should a guy with world class skills be banned from participating in the sport he loves because of a hormone deficiency? Should TRT be considered cheating or viewed similarly to thyroid treatment or insulin for diabetics? Is it simply leveling the playing field or an unfair advantage?