UFC fans have probably seen the end of Chael Sonnen. The CSAC voted 4-1 to hold up Sonnen’s indefinite suspension. Sonnen told the CSAC that Dana White told him that his career is over if he doesn’t get licensed today.
The UFC has stood by Sonnen during his battles with the CSAC and NSAC. It appears that the UFC is moving on. Sonnen told the CSAC today, “If I don’t get my license today I’m effectively retired. That came from the boss, Dana White.”
With tears in his eyes Sonnen reportedly told the CSAC, “I worked for this chance my whole life. I don’t want to retire today.”
I have certainly bashed Sonnen over the last several months for the stupid things he continues to say but it is hard not to have a little bit of empathy for him today. On the other hand, this isn’t a case of a fighter on the verge of losing his career due to a freak injury or car accident. Sonnen brought all of this one himself with his big mouth and failure to own up his actions.
Sonnen continued to skate around the facts regarding his alleged conversation with Kizer. His lawyer tried to have a declaration submitted by Matt Lindland that was thrown out. Although Sonnen’s recent interview with Ariel Helwani was brought up during testimony, specifically his answers to Helwani’s questions about Kizer in which Sonnen continued to dance around the issue. Sonnen’s continued lack of remorse really came back to bite him in the end today.
Sonnen also told the CSAC that he needs testosterone therapy for survival and compared his levels to that of a “93-year old man.” Sonnen’s mother took the stand and said she goes with Chael to the doctor and whether he competes or not, needs testosterone therapy. In an unintentionally funny moment she asked the CSAC, “did he really lie the last time he was here?”
The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 also came up today during testimony. A license will indeed open the door for a Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping The Ultimate Fighter season and subsequent fight. Sonnen told the CSAC that the UFC promised him a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter 18 days from now if he were to get licensed.
The statement backs up several in the MMA media who have reported that Sonnen was in line for a spot on The Ultimate Fighter. Dave Meltzer was the first to break the details of the story. The story also puts Dana White in a real bad spot. White has told the MMA media that the reports of Sonnen coaching on TUF were false and the UFC has not made a decision yet. Under oath Sonnen has completely discredited that.
It doesn’t matter at this point. Sonnen has been his biggest enemy and the more he talked, the more he damaged his chances. Sonnen’s interview with Helwani really came back to haunt him as well as past comments he has made regarding his alleged conversation with Kizer. You never want to see anyone lose their job, but it is hard to argue for Sonnen when he continually puts his foot in his mouth.
There is also a question as to whether Sonnen really will be cut by the UFC following the decision. Sonnen’s PED suspension will be up in June, allowing him to fight in states that don’t abide by the CSAC ruling. The UFC could in theory just wait it out until June and book Sonnen in places like Texas ala: Josh Barnett with soft commissions. Could the UFC just say, “goodbye” because Sonnen can’t get licensed in several places?
They better or Sonnen is never getting his suspension lifted in California. The biggest factor in Sonnen’s suspension is his credibility and delusional rants which the CSAC don’t particularly find amusing. How will the CSAC feel now if Sonnen were to return without being cut after crying the blues about being fired? At this point the UFC almost has to cut him if he has any chance at being fully licensed by California. It is certainly a dangerous game of chicken Mr. Sonnen is playing if he really wasn’t threatened by White.
Chael Sonnen can not reapply for a license before May 18, 2012.
Thanks to Josh Gross of ESPN for the Twitter updates.
Update: Due to a technicality the CSAC reversed its decision.
“Upon reviewing the May 18, 2011 decision of the commission, an error in the applicability of Rule 399 was made,” stated a release issued today by the commission. “The rule states that, ‘Any applicant who has been denied an application for a license may not file a similar application until one year from the date of the last previous denial by the commission. Any application filed within the one year period may be denied without the necessity of a hearing. Anyone who has had his license revoked may not petition for reinstatement or apply for a new license until one year after the date of such revocation. Any petition for reinstatement filed within the one year period may be denied without the necessity of a hearing.’
What this means is that once Sonnen’s license expires this June he can reapply. Don’t get too excited yet. My hunch is that this is really just all semantics and unless something drastically changes, Sonnen doesn’t have a shot of getting his license back. Sonnen would have to reapply for the license and essentially go on trial once again. If the CSAC were satisfied punishing him for a year a week ago, why would that change in a month? The only difference is that the loss would delay Sonnen from reapplying until June 2012 rather than May 2012.
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