It seems the UFC wasn’t expecting Chael Sonnen to plead guilty to federal money laundering charges yesterday. Shortly after that news broke, word came that the UFC had booked Sonnen to fight Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 128, however that bout appears to either be canceled or at least in jeopardy now. Dana White told TMZ earlier today that he has suspended Sonnen and “frozen” his contract.
Just yesterday, Sonnen pled guilty to money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud — and now UFC president Dana White tells us Sonnen’s contract has been temporarily “frozen.”
But White isn’t turning his back on one of his most famous fighters — Dana tells us, “Chael Sonnen has gone through a lot in the last few months and we think it’s important for him to focus on getting his personal life together before focusing on his career in the UFC.”
White adds, “I spoke with Chael earlier today and he agrees that setting priorities in his life is the best thing for him right now. I sincerely hope Chael is able to straighten out his personal life.”
Sonnen’s manager, Mike Roberts, echoed Dana’s sentiments to MMA Fighting.
“Chael Sonnen and the UFC have mutually decided that Chael will take some time off from his fight career to focus on the resolution of some personal issues. Chael looks forward to returning to the octagon in the near future and resuming his quest for the UFC middleweight title.”
Between his positive drug test and the fact that Sonnen’s now a convicted felon, I bet the UFC sure is thankful that Anderson Silva managed to pull off that miraculous come-from-behind triangle against Sonnen last August. This situation would be a whole lot worse if Chael Sonnen was the middleweight champion.
Image via Sherdog