Sonnen Eligible to Reapply for License in May 2012


The California State Athletic Commission upheld former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen’s indefinite suspension on Wednesday, and the ramifications of that ruling are now coming into focus.

Sonnen, 34, will not be allowed to reapply for licensure in California until May 18, 2012 -- exactly one year from the date of his Wednesday appeal. This is in compliance with Title 4 of the California Code of Regulations, which states:

“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 was handed his indefinite suspension in late April, and the fighter subsequently requested the May 18 appeal hearing. The middleweight was originally suspended in September following an unsuccessful title bid against Anderson Silva at UFC 117, which took place Aug. 7 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Sonnen’s drug screen came back positive for elevated levels of testosterone, and the fighter was suspended for one year by the commission.

Sonnen’s original suspension was shortened to six months on Dec. 2 during an appeal hearing in which Sonnen explained that he was medically prescribed testosterone injections to treat a condition called hypogonadism. However, that testimony became the subject of controversy when Sonnen brought up a conversation with Nevada State Athletic Commission head Keith Kizer in relation to that state’s “therapeutic use” exemption program. After the hearing, Kizer denied having had a conversation with Sonnen regarding the fighter’s testosterone use.

Concerned that Sonnen’s December testimony may have unfairly swayed the vote to shorten his suspension, as well as with Sonnen’s recent felony money laundering conviction in Oregon, the CSAC handed the fighter his current indefinite suspension, which was upheld by a vote of 4-1 on Wednesday.

Though Sonnen is suspended only in the state of California, other state athletic commissions typically honor rulings across the country. While nothing would prevent Sonnen from competing abroad or in a state without a commission, it is unknown at this time if the UFC will continue to promote the fighter in light of his suspension.

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