, the manager of middleweight Chael Sonnen
, says his client's career is "far from over" even though he's taking a UFC hiatus, finishing up a steroids suspension and awaiting a sentence for money laundering.
According to Roberts, UFC president Dana White's decision to freeze Sonnen's contract
was mutual, one in which both sides decided would be best for Sonnen's future.
"[Sonnen] was never suspended," Roberts said Monday on The MMA Hour
. "Dana just thought it would be in Chael's best interest to get his life together and get everything cleared up in his personal life, that when he comes back to fight, it's going to be all about the fight."
News broke last week that Sonnen had pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering related to mortgage fraud stemming from a transaction on Jan. 3, 2011. Sonnen has already agreed to give up his Realtor license and pay a $10,000 fine and awaits sentence.
Sonnen was facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail, but since Sonnen agreed to a guilty plea and is cooperating with officials, he is expected to receive only a two-year probation sentence.
"I can't talk anything on the legal stuff honestly, I'm not his lawyer, I have nothing to do that," Roberts told host Ariel Helwani. "All that stuff is being worked out, but no, I don't think you'll see him in jail, but all that stuff is still being worked out."
Roberts, who confirmed that Sonnen was indeed in talks to fight Yoshihiro Akiyama
, says he is unsure when Sonnen will be back in the cage.
"I would hope this year, but time will tell," said Roberts of MMA Inc., a management and marketing agency for fighters. "This will be up to Chael as to when that's going to happen."
Roberts also said he can't imagine Sonnen not returning under a contender status, but acknowledged that the decision will be the UFC's. However as Sonnen's manager, one thing Roberts does know for sure, is that Sonnen will be back stronger than ever.
"His career is not over. It's far from over, I can promise you that," Roberts said. "This is just going to get Chael more time to get better and when he comes back he's going to be coming back with full intention of getting that belt."