Chael Sonnen Receives 2-Year Suspension from Nevada Athletic Commission

By C.J. Tuttle Jul 23, 2014
A contrite Chael Sonnen appeared before the NAC on Wednesday. | Mike Sloan/

Chael Sonnen was handed a two-year suspension from the sport of mixed martial arts by the Nevada Athletic Commission on Wednesday.

In addition to his suspension, the retired UFC veteran will be required to pay all doctors’ fees for the random drug tests he failed on May 24 and June 5. Sonnen will also be expected to work with the NAC to educate fighters, as well as the commission on how to improve future drug testing.

The commission voted unanimously on these statutes after a short deliberation regarding Sonnen’s case.

The panel of commissioners asked Sonnen questions ranging from why he failed to apply for a new therapeutic use exemption in Nevada, to why he had been prescribed drugs from three different doctors. The act of “shopping for prescriptions” was mentioned, but Sonnen denied any sort of involvement in that.

Sonnen offered little in regards to excusing his failed tests or any aspects of the complaint, saying at one point during the proceedings, “I am guilty. I am ashamed.” When offered the chance to “come clean about anything else on his chest, Sonnen admitted to taking prescription Ambien, but said he had done nothing else of an illegal nature.

NAC Commissioner Anthony A. Marnell III suggested a lifetime ban for Sonnen during the deliberations, relating his experience on the issue to Marnell’s time spent playing baseball during the “steroid era.” In the end, a two-year ban was settled upon.

Sonnen is set to return to the combat sports world on Aug. 9 in Los Angeles, when he will take on Andre Galvao at jiu-jitsu event Metamoris 4.


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