If yesterday’s news that Chael Sonnen tested positive for a performance enhancing drug from his title fight at UFC 117 wasn’t shocking enough, wait till you hear this. CSAC executive director George Dodd told SI.com’s Josh Gross earlier today that Sonnen approached him the day before the fight and told him he had used a banned substance.
Sonnen, 33, of West Linn, Ore., was apparently concerned enough about the possibility that he would render a positive test that he told CSAC executive director George Dodd he used an illegal performance enhancing drug leading up to the biggest fight of his life.
“He only indicated that he was taking it but he never indicated why,” Dodd said of a conversation he and Sonnen shared during drug testing conducted by the state a day prior to the fight.
Sonnen “just let me know he was taking [something] and that’s when I called over an inspector to get it documented. But when you do take it you still have to show a medical reason.”
Though Sonnen mentioned using an illegal substance, the veteran mixed martial artist failed to note it on a pre-fight questionnaire with commission doctors or provide documentation about the use of testosterone in a medical context, according to Dodd.
“Whenever you’re taking an enhancing drug you have to let the commission know prior to even taking the test that you’re taking, and what the medical reasons are why you’re taking the drug,” Dodd said. “That way we can verify with our commission doctors that the reason you’re taking that is the reason you should be on that type of drug. You can’t just come in and say, ‘Hey, I’m taking this,’ and think that’s going to get you off.”
From what I gather, Sonnen never provided a legitimate medical reason, which has led some people to rightfully question why the commission would allow Sonnen to fight if he admitted to PED use prior to the fight without a justifiable reason for doing so. My guess is we haven’t heard all the details about that aspect of the story yet.
Also of note, Dodd confirmed Sonnen tested positive for “abnormally high levels of testosterone.” Sonnen has the option to appeal, but must respond to the notice sent to him within 30 days. Furthermore, if he doesn’t appeal at the commission’s next meeting on Dec. 2, his appeal would not be heard in time for a rematch with Silva on New Year’s day or Super Bowl Weekend. A successful appeal on Dec. 2 appears to be the only chance that fight has of happening early next year. If Sonnen chooses not to appeal, he will serve a one-year suspension until Sept. 2, 2011 and will be fined $2,500. Sonnen has yet to comment on the situation.
Update: George Dodd tells Josh Gross why Chael Sonnen will still allowed to fight.
Spoke to CSAC’s George Dodd. Q: Why was Sonnen allowed to fight? A: Rule 303c requires lab to confirm + results before CSAC can stop fight.
Sonnen will appear on this week’s edition of ESPN MMA live to presumably give his side of the story.
Update 2: I’m trying my best to keep these reports and facts straight, but it is a little challenging. From what I gather from Ben Fowlkes new story on MMA Fighting, Chael Sonnen told CSAC director George Dodd he took “something” before the fight, but Dodd can’t recall if Sonnen told him specifically what he had taken.
Dodd also confirmed that Sonnen personally told him before the bout that he was taking “something,” but said Sonnen didn’t provide an explanation for why he was taking it. Dodd couldn’t recall whether Sonnen told him what that something was.
“He told me that he was taking something and I informed my inspector to get with him and make sure we mark it down on our sheet that we use for drug testing, and then we moved forward with the drug testing,” Dodd said. “I don’t recall if he actually informed me what he was taking. …I don’t recall if he did or didn’t. He might’ve, but we were doing a lot of drug testing that night. He may have.”
Therefore, it’s possible Sonnen never verbally admitted to using a performance enhancer pre-fight, however at the very least, he put down that he took “testosterone” on a pre-fight screening drug form. From an update on Josh Gross’ piece.
According to Dodd, Sonnen wrote on a pre-fight drug screening form that he used “testosterone.” Sonnen also indicated the manner in which he ingested the drug, though Dodd declined to answer whether that was in pill or injectable form.
George Dodd also explained Rule 303c that prevented them from stopping Sonnen from fighting.
“A positive test which has been confirmed by a laboratory utilized by the commission … shall be used as conclusive evidence of a violation of the subsection,” Dodd said. “We have to have confirmation from a labratory before we can say ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’
“Remember, we don’t know what levels or anything else he was going to be tested for when the results came back. What happens if they were at normal levels? If his levels were normal, and you actually didn’t have a reason why, then we actually stopped somebody from earning a living. Health and safety is our No. 1 priority but you have to weigh everything. And our rules do say you have to have confirmation from a laboratory.
“It was just a weird situation. But you follow what your rules and guidelines tell you to do, and that’s what they told us to do.”
I’m not sure if I agree with that rule. If health and safety is the priority, then you would want to err on the side of caution, would you not?