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Chael Sonnen on drug-test failures: 'I'm not going to apologize because I'm not sorry'

Esther Lin

If you were expecting contrition from Chael Sonnen now that a fair bit of time has passed since the drug-test failures which ended his mixed martial arts career, well, guess again.

Sonnen continues to take the blunt approach when asked about why he used performance-enhancing drugs. Speaking on the debut episode of his new podcast, "You're Welcome," Sonnen stated he's not sorry for the path he chose.

"People were saying, 'why won't he say he's sorry?' I'm not," said Sonnen. "I'm not going to apologize because I'm not sorry. I'm a consenting adult. I knew exactly what I was doing. This was a premeditated decision."

Sonnen, whose career took off during his second stint in the UFC, had his career as one of the sport's most popular personalities come crashing down several months ago, when he flunked a pair of random tests administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission before a bout planned for UFC 175, first against Wanderlei Silva and then Vitor Belfort. Sonnen, who announced his retirement from the sport, ultimately was handed a two-year NAC suspension.

"Here's the problem, is that it worked," said Sonnen, who made his MMA debut in 1997. "The problem is, it helps. There's a term out there, performance enhancing drug. The reality is, it's all medicine. All medicine is made to make you better. If it did the opposite, it would be malpractice. You're not going to the doctor to say give me something to make me worse. i was taking things and they were making me feel a little better."

The way Sonnen tells it, the web in which he and others from his generation became entangled was one of shifting expectations and changing procedures over the years.

"I came from a little bit different time," Sonnen said. "This isn't like the guys of now. This is back, when I grew up through the 80s, I would go to the local health food store, your GNC, and I'd take everything on the shelf and hope that something would work, whether you're talking proteins, whether you're talking creatines, whatever it might be, if there was a guy on the label and he was big and strong looking, I was begging my mom and dad to buy me that. I have tried everything over the years on the off-chance that something might work. And every now and then you'll find something that does.

"For me, the litmus test was flawed, but here was my litmus test: Can't be a steroid, and it's got to be legal," Sonnen continued. "I can't take anything, I don't wan't to be in possession of anything that isn't legal. What I'm talking about there, I'm not talking about the commissions and their rules, I'm talking about the law. I'm talking about, am I holding something in my possession and then a police officer sees me, am I allowed to have that. If the answer's yes, then I'm in. That was my test. If I could get this legal, if there's a legal medication, I'm taking it, I'm not cross-referencing it with the commission. I'm not taking the rules or someone else's over that of a doctor. That's what I'd tell myself to sleep well at night."

While Sonnen is far from apologetic about gaining an extra edge, he remains equally as upfront about accepting the consequences of his choices, which included the end of his fighting career and the loss of his broadcasting gig on FOX.

"If you're going to try to get away with something, if you're beat, you're beat," Sonnen said. "There's nothing more to it, there's nothing more to the story. I took something, I was caught, I got tarnished and that's it."

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