Former UFC middleweight title challenger turned analyst Chael Sonnen recently discussed the Professional Fighters League doping issue, which has seen several fighters from its roster test positive for banned substances. However, while most fans and pundits interpret the situation as a massive setback for the promotion, the ‘West Linn Gangster’ shares a different point of view.
Chael Sonnen believes the PFL has a good system
On his Youtube channel (transcribed by MMA Fighting), Sonnen explained the reasoning behind what can be considered a controversial opinion. For the veteran it is quite a simple matter, if the Nevada Athletic Commission is catching athletes who are failing tests for using banned substances, it means the promotion’s system works and they have what is, in fact, the oppositie of a problem.
“Does the PFL have a problem?” Sonnen said. “There’s a couple of ways to look at it, and my answer is no. No, they don’t. I look at it in a different way, which is, they went out to Nevada and they got like nine guys in a day.
“It was roughly nine guys for the PFL, and then somebody else came in, and he was even a tournament winner, a defending winner that was planning to enter this season. So they get pulled, and the way I see it, they don’t have a problem, the PFL has a good system in place for catching these people.”
A learning experience
In fact, Sonnen sees even more of an upside when he considers that the whole issue could be a learning experience for fighters who failed their exams. In the veteran’s opinion, athletes sometimes not know that they are taking banned substances at the wrong time, therefore the testing could be a way for them to fiind out.
“Sometimes it’s educating them,” Sonnen said. “People generally don’t like to hear that, that it was a mistake, but a lot of times it is, that somebody didn’t know that something that they’re taking is banned, or the time they’re taking it.
“So when you have these athletes that were hit and they’re going to deal with that, they’re going to learn from it, but they’re also going to become examples for the rest of the roster to look at, ‘Oh, I’m doing that same thing.’ It’s kind of the way that it goes. I didn’t see a big problem with it. I just didn’t.”
Sonnen himself has had problems with doping
Chael Sonnen received a suspension from the California State Athletic Commission for displaying unallowbly high levels of testosterone in his urine at the time of his first fight against Anderson Silva, in August 2010. Though the former title challenger decided to appeal the decision at the time, he did end up paying a 2,500-dollar fine on top of the one-year suspension.
During his career, Sonnen (31-17-1) shared the cage with some of the biggest names of his generation and scored notable wins over Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Michael Bisping, Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva and Yushin Okami, to name a few. The now 46-year-old retired from the sport following a TKO loss to Lyoto Machida, in June 2019.
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