On Sept. 16, Chael Sonnen was sent notice of his UFC-117/">failed drug test results, suspended one year and fined $2,500. Today he goes before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) in Sacramento to appeal the finding that he illegally used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) prior to the UFC 117 title bout with Anderson Silva.
The proceedings start at 12:30 pm ET but according to Loretta Hunt of the LA Times, Chael's appeal will not be heard until 4:00 pm ET. News from the hearing will be updated as it become available.
Over 100 pages of documents recently released by the CSAC detail the evidence Sonnen must rebut:
On the day of his drug test Sonnen admitted to event supervisor Frank Munoz that he had taken testosterone as recently as the day before.
Sonnen listed testosterone on a section of the urine sample form in which the party to be tested is required under penalty of perjury to reveal any medications or substances taken recently. Sonnen wrote "1 shot" of testosterone, which he stated he took on Aug. 5, just two days before his title match with Silva.
Sonnen's urine sample was sent to the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory. It was received on Aug. 10 and testing procedures began on Aug. 13. On Sept. 2, the lab informed the CSAC that Sonnen's testosterone to epitestosterone ratio (T/E) tested at 16.9 to 1. The maximum allowable T/E ratio is 4.0 to 1.
A follow-up analysis was conducted on Sept. 7, confirming that the test results were consistent with the administration of a steroid.
Sonnen has retained attorney Howard Jacobs to represent him in his appeal. Jacobs has represented many athletes fighting doping claims, including Olympian Marion Jones and cycling's Floyd Landis. Jones was stripped of all five Olympic medals and sentenced to six months in prison for perjury relating to her using of steroids and other charges. Landis waged a costly, draining and ultimately losing four year battle to discredit his 2006 positive test, before revealing he used PEDs for most of his career as a professional road cyclist.
There has been a suggestion in the media that Sonnen would claim testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) usage as a defense. However, according to a California State Athletic Commission executive George Dodd, Sonnen will not be able to use Testosterone Replacement Therapy as an excuse for failing his UFC 117 drug tests,
The CSAC does allows athletes to undergo TRT, but the exception is made with two caveats. First, the fighter must give adequate prior notification to CSAC. And second, the fighter must not show levels of testosterone outside the norm when he is tested
It is unknown how Jacobs and Sonnen will defend the lab's findings.
If Sonnen is unsuccessful in his appeal, his suspension could run until Sept. 2, 2011.