Cruel and unusual punishment?
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is "bummed out" after learning that former middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen "got it stuck to him" by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).
Sonnen saw the suspension of his fight license upheld in a hearing before the CSAC on May 18 after getting pinched for fabricating testimony in a previous hearing earlier this year stemming from his failed drug test at UFC 117 -- not to mention his felony conviction in Oregon for money laundering.
He is eligible to re-apply for his license on June 29, 2011.
If Sonnen can somehow manage to keep himself out of trouble and tone down the trash talk, he might stand a chance at getting another shot at UFC stardom -- assuming he doesn't retire and the promotion still wants him. Testimony introduced at his hearing indicated his boss was effectively finished with him if he wasn't re-licensed; however, it was more about "missing the opportunity" than hanging up the gloves.
White elaborates to Heavy.com:
"I’m pretty bummed out about the Chael Sonnen thing, and the way this thing was handled. I don’t know if there has ever been a penalty laid down ... I mean Tyson, when Tyson bit the ear, he got a year. It’s pretty crazy. It’s not that he’d have to retire. But right now was his opportunity. This kid had the opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter, he had the opportunity to get a big fight set up. Should he win that fight, everybody knows what happened with Anderson Silva. This was a key moment in this kid’s career. You’ve heard me say it for almost 11 years, we always support what the athletic commission says, but this kid got it stuck to him. He’s paid his dues in every way, shape and form, and I think he’s been treated a bit unfairly."
Sonnen was originally tapped to coach The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 opposite fellow middleweight Michael Bisping until this latest incident, with the winner becoming the new division number one contender.
Whether or not "The Count" still gets that opportunity remains to be seen.
It's important to note that even though Sonnen can begin applying for his license next month, there are no guarantees he'll actually get one. The mouthy ex-Realtor ruffled quite a few feathers during his downward spiral, including those of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Is Sonnen the victim of a personal grudge or commission vendetta? Or did he get what he deserves? What side are you on Maniacs? And do White's statements lead you to believe there is still a spot for him inside the Octagon if and when he can get re-licensed?
For more on Sonnen's suspension click here.