Two steps forward, four steps back.
Former number one middleweight contender, Chael Sonnen, looks forward to having his UFC contract "unfrozen" after resolving his legal woes stemming from a money laundering case that landed him in hot water with the U.S. District Court.
While he's ready to pay his fine and serve his probation, the Team Quest trash-talker still has to get back in the good graces of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer, who was less than thrilled with Sonnen's tall tales about phantom conversations during his recent steroids appeal in California.
During his hearing in front of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), in which the mouthy ex-Realtor had to answer for a failed drug test following his UFC 117 title fight last August, Sonnen did some serious "Sin City" name-dropping.
He specifically cited Kizer as someone who had authorized his use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for previous competitions in Nevada.
Not quite, according to the NSAC exec, who explained to Pro MMA Radio how Sonnen "dug himself into a hole" during his CSAC hearing."It was a little more strange because I hear them talking about it and some of the testimony didn't seem to add up. One of the commissioners asked him if he'd had any conversations with commissioners or Nevada and he said 'Yeah, I did talk to someone in Nevada,' and I was thinking, wow! Maybe he talked to one of our doctors or something and I didn't hear about it and they say 'who and he goes 'Keith Kizer.'"
"I immediately leaned forward in my chair and thought, what? It was amazing to hear that. They even asked him again and he said the same thing. Like a week or two later, after I'd denied that we'd spoken, even saying I'd never spoken to him in my life, he was on Inside MMA and they confronted him about it and he left the impression that we'd talked. When I got face-to-face with Chael, his explanation totally changed but it still made no sense. He finally explained something about his manager but it was all really strange. It was a really weird thing. Sometimes when you dig a hole, you have to keep digging."
Kizer went on to discuss exactly what outstanding issues Sonnen has right now with the athletic commission and what he needs to do to get himself out of the sticky situation he's currently mired in.
And regaining a license to fight in Nevada sounds like it's going to take some time.
"There are four issues involved here. One is his PED use. He's claiming now that he used testosterone for fights here in Nevada. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. I don't know. I'm not even sure if I believe that. His tests came back negative. He wasn't over the ratio. His T/E ratio was 16.9 (in Oakland). We have a high cut off ratio here of 6.0 and he wasn't above that when he fought in Nevada. Maybe he was in a situation where he's thinking 'I'm in a world title fight, I need to do something special.' We've had that with other people in world title fights where guys have a lot on the line and they get caught."
"The second thing is being dishonest. Not to me, but to the California commission. That's who he was disrespectful for."
"The third issue was with the referee. That ties more to the second issue. It's a person's character. Sonnen after the meeting wrote me a long e-mail and he told me he wasn't honest with people after the (Paulo) Filho fight (in the WEC) and he had verbally submitted and he'd been frustrated because he'd been doing so well. It was out of frustration of being so close to the belt. There are still people to this day who think he got screwed over for that fight, that he hadn't yelled out in pain ... Even now though, it's been months since the hearing, I haven't heard anything publicly from Sonnen admitting that he hadn't spoken with me. It's one thing to criticize if a ref does a bad job but just lying about what happened is never an acceptable situation. That comes into play as well. What can be done, if anything, going forward especially if you have no public correction of the mis-statements."
"The fourth issue is his legal case. Every fighter has to list on their applications if they've ever committed a felony and he has to check 'yes' on that now because he pleaded guilty. That's the least of the issues but these are all serious issues. The people that know Chael Sonnen and know Keith Kizer didn't believe him over me. You hope that he'd do the right thing but I'm not holding my breath."
Can Sonnen resolve these issues and get back into the cage? Or will he simply bypass the NSAC and try to compete in a different state? Perhaps one that doesn't practice reciprocity?
Time will tell.