In nine months or less, Chael Sonnen will revel in the biggest accomplishment of his lifetime to date. In the process, it might cost the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
Sonnen and his wife, Brittany, are expecting their first child after getting married less than one year ago (more details here). But, conception might not have been possible without the assistance of a cocktail of drugs that Sonnen -- who suffers from hypogonadism -- was prescribed to promote fertility.
And it was those two drugs, along with one other Sonnen was taking to ween himself off Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), which Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) classifies as "banned" (not illegal) substances, that caused "American Gangster" to fail an out-of-competition drug test ahead of UFC 175.
Complete disaster? Absolutely. Terrible miscommunication? Without a doubt. Career-threatening (for Sonnen)? Potentially. Nonetheless, Sonnen would do it all over again, according to comments earlier this evening on "AMERICA'S PREGAME" because the byproduct is a bouncing baby in several months.
"Throughout my career I have had a number of labels," he argued. "But, in nine months I will have the label of parent and father. And if I have to go through this and choose between having the label of being a father/parent or having the label of being an athlete, I am going to choose every single time parent and father. I know what I have done and if I had to do it again I would do it 20 more times."
Sonnen should be well-versed in full disclosure after running afoul of California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) back in 2010 for his TRT use. He was suspended six months and, had he defeated Anderson Silva, the career-defining result would have been overturned.
It doesn't appear that Sonnen disclosed his latest prescriptions before or after the most recent screening in part because, as he claimed, the lab was different and didn't request such paperwork. However, he also admitted that he expected the substances to be out of his system at the time of the screening based on professional medical opinion.
Nonetheless, he did reveal that he expressed concern to his manager, but didn't share it with UFC and/or NSAC at his licensing hearing for his then-match with drug test-dodging Wanderlei Silva ... for whatever reason.
"It is on the banned list, but that's for competition," Sonnen argued. "If this is game day, I'm not making any of these statements. On game day you have to come in right. Out of competition an athlete cannot take an anabolic, he cannot take a performance enhancer, and he cannot take a steroid. The former executive director has many quotes out there that I will download and I will bring into the commission when I appeal this thing stating there is a significant difference between game day and the other 364 days a year."
In other words, Sonnen and NSAC's new leadership have different understandings of how the rules should be interpreted and enforced. Regardless, Sonnen was walking a fine line and then crossed it. And ignorance of drug testing rules in sports has proven over time to be a weak -- and unsuccessful -- excuse.
In fact, had Sonnen followed them to a tee like the others before and after him, he probably wouldn't be in this mess. And he might not be an expecting father, either.
Regardless, he plans to appeal the findings at a future NSAC hearing. After that, at age 37 with a bright career in broadcasting and a growing family, his next move is anyone's guess.
Check out the full video interview on FOX Sports Live below: