Retired Sonnen handed two-year ban

July 24, 2014
Chael Sonnen tested positive for banned substances ahead of a planned fight against Vitor Belfort in July © Getty Images

The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended now-retired mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen for two years at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

Sonnen, 37, tested positive for a total of five banned substances ahead of a planned fight against Vitor Belfort in July. On Wednesday, Sonnen repeatedly admitted guilt and agreed he would not fight outside of Nevada during the two-year suspension.

"I don't want to say anything that comes off as an excuse," Sonnen said. "I'm guilty, and I'm ashamed."

Sonnen must also reimburse the NSAC costs associated with the two failed tests, but he was not issued any additional fine.

The three-time UFC title challenger tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), anastrozole and clomifene.

Initially, Sonnen stated he had taken the substances for a multitude of reasons, but he chose not to defend his use of them. He announced his retirement on June 11, one day after the first failed test was reported.

The NSAC suspension will prevent Sonnen (28-14-1) from coming out of retirement, at least for the next two years. Commissioner Anthony A. Marnell argued in favour of a harder suspension but ultimately deferred to other members of the board.

"I don't think two years is appropriate," Marnell said. "I think it's, 'Don't come back.' I just feel like we've been robbed of the truth from the day this started.

"As long as I sit on this commission, I cannot positively vote for this man to ever be licenced in [Las Vegas]," Marnell said.

After reports of the second failed test on June 28, US television network Fox Sports terminated its contract with Sonnen as an on-camera analyst.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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