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Chael Sonnen on out-of-competion testing: ‘That’s just fair, man’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chael Sonnen knew what he was getting into when he signed on to fight Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Sonnen has twice run afoul of the rules against performance-enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts, including once in California, and was required to submit to out-of-competition testing as a condition of regaining his license in the Golden State.

When asked about being subjected to the tests -- he’s done so twice in the leadup to the fight -- Sonnen was matter of fact about his history and the rules as they’re now laid out.

“You have to understand, when you’re a guy who has my background who is coming off a suspension, that’s the way it goes,” Sonnen said. “You’re going to have more testing and regulation than the other guys. That’s just fair, man.”

Sonnen’s first test came while he was getting ready to announce a Bellator event in San Jose, which to him, is proof the system works.

“I was surprised by it,” Sonnen said. “I was at an event commentating and I got pulled into the back, but that’s why the tests work, the out-of-competition test. I was not ready to be tested or knew I was going to be tested and I haven’t thought about it a whole lot.”

Sonnen’s most recent test failure was costly, as he had to step out of what was expected to be a big-money fight with Wanderlei Silva at UFC 175 and also lost a high-profile FOX studio gig. Sonnen doesn’t sound apologetic for his attempts to game the system, but says he recognizes he needs to play within the rules.

“There are things that are in bounds and out of bounds and that’s it. I lived on the other side of the tracks and came in clean on fight night. Now that doesn’t happen like that any more, it’s around the clock and it’s out of competition. The rules have changed, and you have to change with them. I was a little slow to get around on that but I’m there now.”

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