Sonnen asks Couture to take Metamoris match

by Kirik Jenness |

Chael Sonnen grapples Andre Galvao in the main event of Metamoris 4 in Los Angeles on Saturday, but the Nevada Athletic Commission has threatened him with a $250,000 fine if he does so.

Mr. Sonnen:

On July 23, 2014 you personally appeared with legal counsel before the Nevada State Athletic Commission (the "Commission") for a disciplinary hearing. You testified under oath regarding your use of five drugs that are prohibited at all times: Anastrozole, Clomifene, Erythropoletin, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, and Human Growth Hormone. While under oath, you promised that you would not fight in any jurisdiction during your two-year suspension.

Despite your promise, the Commission's reliance on your promise when it determined discipline, I now see that you had already scheduled a fight in California on August 8, 2014. Be advised that the occurrence of any fight is a breach of the Commission's Order and will subject you to further proceedings before the Commission. In addition, should you breach your agreement, the Commission reserves the fight to rescind the penalty imposed against you and reconsider a different form of punishment for your admitted violations.


Francisco V. Aguilar, Chairman

Sonnen reached out to Randy Couture to see if "The Natural" would take his place if necessary, but media duties around the Sunday debut of "Gym Rescue" and the Saturday LA debut of “Expendables 3” unfortunately made it impossible.

This would not have been a first for Couture who grappled  Ronaldo 'Jacare' Santos in the main event of 'X-Mission' back in 2008.

The Brazilian site Combate obtained copies of messages from Sonnen's attorney Ross C. Goodman to NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar seeking a solution. Metamoris is in California not Nevada, and no athletic commission in the USA regulates grappling, so the contest does not appear to break any rules.

Further, the event was marketed for a month before the NAC sought to block the match. And Aguilar himself told Combate on video that grappling was not subject to regulation.

Sonnen's attorney Ross Goodman sent two letters to the NAC; via Guilherme Cruz for MMAFighting.

"Absent any specific definition of ‘fighting,’ it is reasonable to presume that the NSAC intended only to limit Mr. Sonnen’s 2 year suspension to MMA, boxing and other forms of unarmed combat for which NSAC is vested with jurisdiction,""Specifically, the NSAC is vested under NRS 467.070 with ‘management, control and jurisdiction over all contests or exhibitions of unarmed combat to be conducted.’ The term ‘unarmed combat’ is defined in NRS 467.0107 as ‘boxing or any form of competition in which a blow is usually struck which may reasonably be expected to inflict injury.’

"There is no dispute that the NSAC has no jurisdiction or authority to regulate, license or sanction jiu-jitsu and other forms of grappling. Moreover, jiu-jitsu does not fall within the Nevada definition of unarmed combat because it does not involve ‘blows’ of any kind. Likewise, it would be a violation of due process to expand the interpretation of ‘fighting’ broader than the statutory definition of unarmed combat. In our view, there could be no violation under NRS 467.885 as any interpretation to include jiu-jitsu or grappling would be outside of the NSAC’s jurisdiction and constitute an invalid order."

"In light of the short notice raised by your letter, we respectfully request that you reconsider the NSAC’s position relating to the expanded definition of ‘fighting’ which precludes Mr. Sonnen from fulfilling his contractual obligation with Metamoris 4. Any breach of this contract by Mr. Sonnen would certainly result in future litigation for loss of revenue sales."

The purpose of Sonnen's suspension is to prevent him from realizing financial gain from competing in combat sports. From that perspective, the prohibition on competing in Metamoris is understandable. However, grappling is not a fight, as there is not striking. Boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts are fights. Judo, BJJ, wrestling, pro wrestling, and grappling are not fights, despite various marketing attempts to cast them as such.

Further, the delay of nearly a month in letting Sonnen know he could not compete is not reasonable. It is not fair to promoter Ralek Gracie, it is not fair to the fans, and it is not fair to Chael Sonnen.

NSAC chairman Aguilar has said he will not alter the stance on Chael Sonnen ahead of Metamoris 4.

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Recent Comments »

notsobigmike site profile image  

8/7/14 11:10 AM by notsobigmike

Actually, I thought it was the opposite.When it comes to stuff like TKD tournaments, sub-grappling/BJJ events, etc. - there was no athletic sanctioning. The event doesn't have to get AC approval nor do the athletes need to procure any licensing.In fact, I thought that was how "smokers" came into existence. It doesn't count as an ammy MMA event if it's basically a "martial arts competition" staged between two or more gyms so it doesn't require an AC oversight.

BigEyedFish site profile image  

8/6/14 9:29 PM by BigEyedFish

metamoris announced that they expect chael to be cleared to compete in the event saturday

The Sultan site profile image  

8/6/14 9:18 PM by The Sultan

that fucking blows they are chasing chael down all the way in to grappling and killing more paydays for him.  He cheated, got caught and has to pay the consequences but that has to suck to have them all over him like this.

Elyrain site profile image  

8/6/14 8:43 PM by Elyrain

Next the commission will try to block him from wrasslin WWE! WTF!

jasonhightower site profile image  

8/6/14 6:57 PM by jasonhightower

Dana has already told the UG they are working on a plan to add Metamoris and ADCC to fightpass.

SlickPacific site profile image  

8/6/14 6:33 PM by SlickPacific

At the end of the day, wrestling isn't to inflict pain nor incapacitate your opponent, neither is "arm wrestling". Submission is all about that really.

Nirvana site profile image  

8/6/14 6:32 PM by Nirvana

I find it interesting that you people have been happy with the UFC egging on State Legislators to pass regulations for MMA. NY is the most recent example.Yet suddenly I see posts criticizing the "gubment" and calling them "bureaucrats".I guess I am not sure what you expect when ask the "gubment" "bureaucrats" regulate your sport?

Nirvana site profile image  

8/6/14 6:25 PM by Nirvana

I'm going out on a limb, but from memory, all Athletic commissions have jurisdiction over any Martial Arts matches, although they tend to let them regulate themselves.

notsobigmike site profile image  

8/6/14 6:10 PM by notsobigmike

One of the things Meta seems to be doing is having high-profile matches with well-known MMA fighters.Two high-level BJJ champs is great for the crowd that follows that stuff - but for the non-ADCC-streaming crowd, bringing in a recognizable name from MMA is a great way to draw attention to your event.Think about all the people who were interested in this event simply because Chael was going to compete in it. I don't there's any other competition-BJJ guy who has anywhere near that level of pull.

TexDeuce site profile image  

8/6/14 5:51 PM by TexDeuce

Oh fuck yeah! Vintage Wolfman right here. Feed Galvao to Wolfman.