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Justice is served: Chael Sonnen's suspension was the right thing to do

Photo via <a href="" target="new">MMAWeekly</a>
Photo via MMAWeekly

Think back to your childhood.

You're at the grocery store with your mom and she gives you a couple of minutes to browse the candy, giving you an opportunity to pick whichever treat you'd like.

After scouring the bins for what seems like an eternity, you narrow your choices down to a Snickers and a Butterfinger.

Holding one in each hand, you contemplate what seems like the biggest decision in your life.

"Crunch peanut buttery goodness? Or chocolate and nougat (whatever that is, it's delicious)?"

Unable to make a choice, you carry both to your mom and hold them up, hoping by the divines of the gods, she will allow you to get both.

"No. Only one," she says.

You trudge back to the candy aisle, heartbroken. Then, a mischievous little spark ignites in your brain. You decide to pocket the Snickers, concealing it in your pants, while getting Mom to pay for the Butterfinger.

But the slight candy bar-sized bulge in your pants is a dead giveaway. You've been found out. So what do you do?

If you're Chael Sonnen, it seems, you lie.

Chael Sonnen had the opportunity of a lifetime.

When he challenged Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in Aug. 2010, he joined a club of around 20 men, only one of which, Rich Franklin, can count himself as a two-time member.

He came up short in what amounted to a "Fight of the Year" and "Comeback of the Century" candidate when he dominated the seemingly invincible champion only to be choked out in the last round.

It was a knife in the gut to the Team Quest fighter. He was minutes -- no, seconds -- away from fulfilling the promise to his dying father that he would become a champion.

Sonnen himself said he was "heartbroken" after the loss. As much trash as he talked and as offensive as he was leading up to the bout, you couldn't help but feel for the guy.

The following month it was revealed that Sonnen had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

What followed amounted to nothing less than a three-ring circus filled with claims from Sonnen of an obscure disease to state athletic commissioners all but calling the former number one contender a liar.

In a meeting with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), Sonnen claimed he was undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) due to hypogonadism and he had gotten the okay from Keith Kizer, head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

Just one problem with that ... Kizer denied this.

If the he said, she said drama wasn't enough, a scandal in Sonnen's home state of Oregon was brewing up which found the fighter and part-time real estate agent guilty of of mortgage fraud and money laundering.

It was unbelievable. The case of the seemingly racist, apparently cheating fighter that couldn't get worse actually got worse.

No jail time came as a result but a hefty fine and a two-year probation was handed down.

While that bullet was dodged, the little matter of whether or not he had lied about what Keith Kizer told him, if anything, was beginning to build steam.

His testimony at the CSAC meeting was called into play and the suspension he was serving for testing positive for banned substances was upheld indefinitely. It seems the commission wanted to get all the facts straight before they allowed Sonnen to step back inside the cage.

Today (May 18, 2011), the commission reconvened to decide if that indefinite suspension should continue or if Sonnen should be allowed to reapply for a license and in a couple weeks, coach opposite Michael Bisping in the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).

Testimony was heard from both sides. Sonnen was unable to convince the commission that his previous statements were not told in half-truths, shrouded with ambiguity. He claimed he would retire if he was unable to attain a license and even his mother offered her pleas.

In the end, the commission upheld the suspension.

They made the right choice.

Back to the grocery store. You're found with the absconded Snickers in your pants.

"What is that?," your mom asks.

In that very important moment, you make the wrong choice.


Now, like Chael Sonnen, you'll be punished for not only breaking the rules but lying about it.

Perhaps Sonnen is afflicted with a disease that drops his level of testosterone to that of a 93-year-old man. But he didn't get the clearance from any commision, California or Nevada, to engage in any kind of treatment for it.

And when called on it, he brought up conversations that may or may not have happened followed by excuses for why his story didn't check out.

I grew up a professional wrestling fan. I appreciate the trash talking aspect Sonnen brings to the table. The holier than thou MMA bloggers claim that his schtick is tired and offensive but the casual fan eats that kind of stuff up.

How else do you explain the respectable buyrate UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen" did when all the past pay-per-views number from the Brazilian were stagnant or at least helped by larger names like BJ Penn or Chuck Liddell?

Anderson Silva was not a draw. Chael Sonnen made him one. And when Silva triangled the troubled American, Sonnen made the Brazilian champion a superstar.

Despite that, Sonnen deserved to be punished for not only circumventing the rules but also lying about it.

He never discussed TRT with Kizer and claiming that he did, ruined his repuation and any goodwill he might have had leading up to today's meeting with the CSAC.

If you break the rules, you will get punished.

If you break the rules and then lie to get out of it, you'll get punished that much more.

Chael Sonnen was made a walking example of that today.

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