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Sonnen’s drug therapy for manopause results in only 6-month suspension

So in the end we only have to wait three more months – sometime after March 2, 2011 – until Chael Sonnen can fight again, which is not much longer than we would’ve had to wait if there had been no drug suspension at all given that Sonnen probably would not have been booked for another fight for at least three or four months regardless.

The UFC middleweight contender was originally slapped with a one-year suspension following his positive drug test at UFC 117 that showed his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio to be 16.9, well above the legal threshold of 4.0. But the California State Athletic Commission has cut the penalty in half on appeal, although he’ll still have to pay the original $2,500 fine.

Sonnen claims that he’s been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) since 2008 to treat hypogonadism (aka low testosterone), which can leads to manopause, and that he’d previously disclosed his treatment to the CSAC (TRT is allowed within certain limits and with proper documentation from physician). He also argued that he’d received approval as far back as his UFC 104 bout with Yushin Okami, although the CSAC says it doesn’t have the paperwork on file. It was the TRT that Sonnen reminded the CSAC about prior to his fight with Anderson Silva that led to the suspension three months ago.

Sonnen’s case sounds entirely plausible. Otherwise, why would he inform the NSAC he was undergoing TRT prior to the Silva bout? What’s the up side of that? He wasn’t trying to hide anything from anybody. And according to his doctor, who I’m inclined to believe, the therapy doesn’t have a steroid juicing effect, so… It’s almost a no harm, no foul situation, except for some procedural irregularities, which is why Sonnen is benched for six months and paying a fine.

Which brings us to what next for Chael Sonnen. Personally, I’d love to see a rematch with Anderson Silva. It was one of the most entertaining fights of 2010, he came within inches of taking away Silva’s title and making him look very very human. I say a definite rematch is in order. Besides, I’ve kind of missed Sonnen’s mouthiness.

Oh, and sorry Yushin Okami, you’re title shot just disappeared behind Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.

4 comments

1 Nanaimo Steve { 12.06.10 at 6:26 pm }

Man you are gullible. Even if he does have a medical condition that requires treatment, he was taking far more than a therapeutic dose.

2 Barrett Hooper { 12.07.10 at 12:54 am }

Actually, he wasn’t. At least as far as the tests show. TRT involves a synthetic form of testosterone, which elevates the body’s ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. In Sonnen’s case, his test ratio was 16.9:1, where the normal threshold ratio is 4:1 (although the definition of normal is actually not a hard number, since what might be considered normal for one person might be abnormal for another). According to the CSAC, while Sonnen’s test results of the ratio were high, triggering the failed drug test, his actual range of testosterone was within the normal levels for adult males (and certainly within the normal range for adult male athletes of Sonnen’s caliber). I’m not saying the TRT-hypogonadism defense isn’t fishy, just that it’s not as cut-and-dried as you think.

3 Nanaimo Steve { 12.07.10 at 4:02 pm }

Maybe Sonnen is the first to be unfairly sanctioned, but after years of listening to the lies of Marion Jones, Roger Clemens, Floyd Landis, etc. it’s hard to believe that this isn’t just another excuse.

4 Barrett Hooper { 12.07.10 at 4:07 pm }

I understand that. I’m cynical as well, and suspicious. But testosterone replacement therapy isn’t steroids. At least, TRT is to steroids what mouth wash is to a bottle of gin. And it can’t be exactly fun to come forward and say you have low testosterone/hypogonadism. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Sonnen was sanctioned as he should be and the sentence was cut in half because of his failure to disclose the treatment. It’ll be interesting to see how this (TRT etc) is treated by athletic commissions going forward.

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