Sonnen remains on suspension; unlikely to coach TUF 14
The California State Athletic Commission today voted to uphold the indefinite suspension of former top UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen.
The ruling ensures that Sonnen will not coach The Ultimate Fighter 14 against Michael Bisping. The reality series begins filming in just over two weeks, and Sonnen confirmed during the proceedings that he had been offered the “chance of a lifetime” in coaching the show. He would eventually face Bisping in a bout to determine the top contender for the UFC middleweight title.
Sonnen indicated during a special meeting that UFC President Dana White recently told him that he would be “effectively retired” if he were unable to secure a license from the California commission. An emotional Sonnen told the commission that he didn’t want to retire, but the board voted 4-1 in favor of upholding Sonnen’s suspension.
Sonnen’s suspension runs through June 29, but he will not be eligible to apply for a new license in California until June 28, 2012. In order to secure a new license prior to that time, Sonnen would again have to appear before the commission.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission – which issues licenses to fighters who act as coaches on the reality show – will uphold the ruling of the California commission. Sonnen could be licensed to fight in Texas and other areas that don’t honor outside commission decisions, but the UFC isn’t likely to push for that.
Sonnen was suspended six months and fined $2,500 for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone following his UFC 117 loss to Anderson Silva. After his initial sentence was reduced, Sonnen also plead guilty to a federal charge of money laundering and was suspended by the UFC.
HeavyMMA.com has reached out to both Dana White and Keith Kizer for comments on the story and will update accordingly.