Chael Sonnen admits to taking banned substances, calls positive test 'confusing'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As he has been known to do these days, Chael Sonnen broke the news on Tuesday that he had failed a random drug test administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission on May 24.

Sonnen appeared on "Jay Mohr Sports" on FOX Sports Radio to explain his side of the story.

"They changed the ruling in Nevada. Earlier this year they did away with what's known as TRT -- Testosterone Replacement Therapy -- in Nevada, and I was on that. So when they changed the rule, we all had to go through a transition phase. For me, for the transition, I had to take a couple of things: one is called clomiphene and the other is called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). So this is what we did. And I took my boards out of the water in the meantime, meaning I didn't fight, I didn't ask for a license. You had to wait to cross this bridge, if you will.

"In the interim, they did a test. I tested positive for these things, which I should have. I took them. They were in my system. That wasn't a surprise. These aren't anabolics, these aren't steroids, these aren't performance-enhancers. None of that stuff. But they have deemed that they are banned substances."

Officially, the Nevada Athletic Commission states that Sonnen tested positive for Anastrozole and Clomiphene, not HCG. However, if that was also in his system, Nevada recently announced that Dennis Siver failed a drug test following UFC 168 for taking HCG.

"What's interesting, in my case, we're out of competition. These are not things that I showed up with on gameday. This is out of competition due to a rule that they changed. So this is kind of an odd spot for me.

"What happens is they do out-of-competition testing, and the lab that they went to is the USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency] lab. Now the USADA lab is the greatest lab in the world. It's a very sensitive test. We had done our own tests, at our own labs, and we thought that everything was out of the system. These were not secrets that I took this stuff. This is what you have to take when you're coming off testosterone. But any rate, it was picked up on their test. Now they can handle that however they want. They can look at that and go, Yeah, this makes sense to us, or they can say, You know what? We don't like this. And they can do either one. They're the commission. I just got to be a reactor and live with it. The confusing part is for a non-anabolic, non-steroid, non-performance enhancing agent that is perfectly legal that I need for a healthy life, essentially they're saying you gotta choose between health and sport.

"It's very tough for me too because I did a number of interviews talking about what I've done, whether it's on UFC Tonight, Canada, UK, Brazil ... I couldn't have told any more people. So when this came back they said, Why did this come back in your system? I said, Why did it come back in my system? Because I took it. I've been taking it. I had to take it because you guys changed the rules. So I did feel a little bit frustrated in that regard. And they may listen to me, they may agree with me, but the way this works is I now have to go to a hearing. And that hearing gets kicked down the road who knows how many days. I have a fight in 30 days, there's no way the hearing will be before then."

According to NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar, Sonnen did not notify the commission that he was using Anastrozole and Clomiphene before the test happened.

The next Nevada Athletic Commission hearing is set for June 17. While the official agenda hasn't been set for it yet, there has been some talk already of including the Sonnen case on the agenda. That said, this positive test eliminates any chance of Sonnen fighting on July 5 against Vitor Belfort, who ironically is already slated to have his hearing on June 17 for his failed drug test in February. There is no word just yet on whether the UFC will still try to book Belfort on that card, but it is worth noting that top contenders Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo Souza will not be healthy to fight in a matter of weeks as they are both dealing with separate injuries.

Sonnen concluded with this:

"There is a little bit of a confusion on the rules. It's kind of tough where you're like, Oh, really? This is a banned substance? Where do we find that? Who exactly do we go to for clarity on this? And the commission has always been very clear. Whether it's the Nevada Commission, and now there is a new guy at the helm [Bob Bennett], but the old executive director [Keith Kizer], I've got quotes I downloaded right off the Internet, but he has been very clear that there is a clear distinctions between gameday and out-of-competition testing. Now you could never take an anabolic or anything, I understand that. This is not an anabolic. This is not a steroid. These are just the substances I had to go to transition, who's also having -- this is a very private part of my life I wasn't planning to share with anybody -- but I'm having fertility issues."

Both Anastrozole and Clomiphene are named as prohibited substances on page 5 of the USADA banned substance list.

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