Former UFC No. 1 middleweight contender Chael Sonnen
has completed a six-month California state athletic commission suspension and paid a $2,500 fine for banned substance use, moving him one step closer to a possible return to the active UFC roster pending the resolution of an ongoing federal money laundering case.
CSAC executive officer George Dodd confirmed to MMA Fighting that Sonnen has fulfilled the terms of his penalty in the state effective Thursday. According to Dodd, Sonnen still has at least one step to take before his license is reinstated in the state, however.
"If Mr. Sonnen wants to be licensed here in California, he will have to appear before the commission to regain his license," Dodd told MMA Fighting in an email. "Every other state will have to make a determination on their process for licensing Mr. Sonnen."
Dodd told MMA Fighting that Sonnen does not yet have a date scheduled to meet with the commission.
Sonnen's suspension stemmed from a drug test following his August 2010 UFC 117 fight with Anderson Silva which revealed elevated levels of testosterone. Sonnen and his physician testified in a hearing that he suffered from hypogonadism, and had been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy since 2008. He also claimed he disclosed the treatment to CSAC officials.
After the hearing, his original one-year suspension was reduced to six months.
Sonnen had been expected to face Yoshihiro Akiyama at this month's UFC 128 when that suspension finished, but that possibility faded after UFC president Dana White decided to freeze his contract until he completed his legal proceedings. In early Feb., White told MMA Fighting
that Sonnen was no closer to returning, and likely would not be reinstated until after his sentencing.
According to The Oregonian newspaper
, Sonnen is likely to receive two years' probation on the recommendation of the U.S. government. His sentencing is scheduled for 11:30 am PT on March 28.