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Chael Sonnen's drug suspension ends before UFC 200, however...

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 200, tentatively scheduled for July 9, 2016 inside Nevada's brand-new Las Vegas Arena, is expected to serve as the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) event in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Who better to help promote it than perennial contender and master barker Chael P. Sonnen?

"I am not coming back, I am not putting a toe in the water," Sonnen told MMA Fighting while serving his two-year disciplinary suspension. "I don't know how to speak any more clear. Am I getting the itch? Man, I never really lose it. When I go to bed at night, I do still fantasize about that. But I fantasize about a lot of things. I won't be back."

Then again, a lot can change between now and next summer.

Sonnen, 38, was forced to walk away from combat sports after "The American Gangster" ran afoul of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), but kept himself in the headlines with his endeavors outside the cage. During his absence, MMA crowned a new prince of pre-fight hype.

Passing of the torch, or just a commercial until the king regains his crown?

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