The California State Athletic Commission shifted gears on Friday, backtracking on its stance that UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen would have to wait a year beyond the expiration of his license on June 29, 2011, to apply for a new license to fight in California.

Sonnen is currently under suspension in the state because of what CSAC executive director George Dodd characterized as “testimony (about) his discussion that he had with the Nevada State Athletic Commission because that could have led some of the commissioners to change or sway their vote as far as… the testosterone use,” as well as concerns over his conviction in Oregon on a Federal money laundering charge.

The commission announced on Friday that it had erred in regards to Rule 399 in the California Code of Regulations.

Rule 399 states that “any applicant who has been denied an application for a license may not file a similar application until one year from the date of the last previous denial by the commission.

“Any application filed within the one year period may be denied without the necessity of a hearing.

“Anyone who has had his license revoked may not petition for reinstatement or apply for a new license until one year after the date of such revocation. Any petition for reinstatement filed within the one year period may be denied without the necessity of a hearing.”

Sonnen’s license was never denied nor revoked. He is under suspension until the time his license expires on June 29.

So Sonnen will be eligible to apply for a new license after his current license expires. He would then have to appear at a hearing, according to the commission, to apply for a new license. If his application was denied at that time, then he would be ineligible to reapply for another year from the time of the denial.

Even if Sonnen were to reapply and be granted a license after the June 29 date, sources indicated that a possible coaching slot opposite Michael Bisping on the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is still off the table.

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