Chael Sonnen found himself in a pickle earlier today (June 10, 2014) after it was revealed he failed an impromptu drug test ahead of his proposed fight against Vitor Belfort, which was set to go down at UFC 175 on July 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Read the initial report here.
As a result, "The American Gangster" was immediately removed from the Fourth of July weekend pay-per-view (PPV) card. Not looking to hide behind closed doors, Sonnen issued his first statement while a guest on Jay Mohr Sports.
And as Sonnen puts it, the failed drug test is all a result of this policy change on behalf of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
His explanation (transcribed by FOX Sports):
Jay Mohr: "You've failed a drug test leading up to UFC 175 which is in July but, why don't you set the record straight right now of what happened...."
Chael Sonnen: "They changed the ruling in Nevada earlier this year, doing away with the TRT, testosterone replacement therapy, and I was on that. So when they changed the rule, we all had to go through a transition phase. For me during the transition, I had to take a couple of things. One is called Clomiphene......and another is called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). I didn't fight it or ask for a license. In the interim, they did a test, and I tested positive for these things which I should have because I took them and they were in my system. That wasn't a surprise. These aren't anabolics, these aren't steroids or performance enhancers, but they have deemed that they are banned substances. What's interesting in my case is that we're out of competition. These aren't things that I showed up with on game day. This is out of competition due to a rule that they changed, so it's an odd spot for me."
Jay Mohr: "So you were't fighting when you tested positive for this thing that the Nevada State Athletic Commission decided was no longer legal. You took yourself out of the Octagon to get it out of your system, so why did you hand in a drug test if you weren't fighting?"
Chael Sonnen: "What happens is they do out-of-competition testing, and the lab that they went to is the USADA lab, which is the greatest lab in the world, but it's a very sensitive test. We've done our own test, at our own labs and we thought everything was out of our system. These weren't secrets that I took these substances, this is what you have to take coming off testosterone. They can handle it however they want. They can say that it makes sense or they can say they don't like it. The confusing part is that for a non-anabolic, non-steroid, non-performance enhancing agent that is perfectly legal and that I need for a healthy life......essentially, they are saying you have to choose between health and sport. It's very tough for me because I was very upfront about it being in my system. Why was it in my system? Because I took it! I've been taking it, and I had to take it because you guys (NSAC) changed the rules. I now have to go to a hearing and I have a fight in 35 days. There's no way the hearing will be before then. It's just kind of a tough spot. We're not looking to do anything underhanded here, but there is a bit of confusion on the rule. It's kind of tough when your going, 'Oh this is a banned substance?' Well, where do we find that? Who exactly do we go for clarity on this? The commission has always been very clear, whether it's Nevada, who is now a new director at the helm; but the old director, he's been very clear that there is clear distinction between game day and out-of-competition testing. Now you can never take anabolic, I understand these things as do you; but this is not a steroid, not an anabolic, these are substances that I had to go to for the transition. I'm also having, this is a private part of my life that I wasn't planning on sharing with anybody, but I am also having fertility issues. My wife and I are. I support the rules, were not complaining here, it's just a bit of confusion."
The irony in this situation is that Sonnen's proposed opponent, Belfort, is currently the one looking to get licensed by the NSAC after it was revealed that the surprise test he took back in February revealed that "The Phenom's" testosterone levels were extremely high.
See the actual number here.
That resulted in Vitor getting booted from his middleweight title fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 173. It also led to the outright ban of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in Nevada, one of the factors that resulted in Sonnen's result.
In yet another interesting plot twist, Belfort was pegged as a replacement for Wanderlei Silva after he was yanked from his fight against Sonnen on the July 5 card after it was revealed that "The Axe Murderer" had allegedly ducked out of a random drug test.
In other words, this thing is (still) a complete mess.