Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dana White believes Chael Sonnen's been treated unfairly by the CSAC, says he has "paid his dues"

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

One running theme for Chael Sonnen's supporters in his troubles with the California State Athletic Commission is the notion that he has "paid his dues" and that his second suspension from the CSAC was unfair. Count UFC President Dana White among those in that camp.

"I'm pretty bummed out about the Chael Sonnen thing and the way it was handled," White said in an interview with HeavyMMA. "I don't think there's ever been a penalty [like this]. When Mike Tyson bit [Evander Holyfield's] ear I think he only got a year."

During his most recent hearing to combat the indefinite suspension handed down, Sonnen claimed to the Commission members that White told him he'd be forced to retire if he couldn't gain his license. White admits that's the not the case, but clarified what he tried to convey to Sonnen.

"It's not that he'd have to retire, but right now was his opportunity," White said. "[He] had the opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter... he had a big fight set up. Should he win that fight, everybody knows what happened with Anderson Silva. This was a key moment in this kid's career.

"You've heard me say it for the last eleven years, we always support whatever the athletic commission says. This kid got it stuck to him, man. He paid his dues in every way, shape and form and I think he's been treated a bit unfairly."

Regardless, Sonnen's suspension runs until the expiration of his license on June 29, at which time the UFC will likely do what they can to get him back into the cage.

Penick's Analysis: This notion that Sonnen "paid his dues" is ridiculously untrue when it comes to this situation. Not only that, but White's example here doesn't hold up, as Sonnen will not have even been suspended a full year when all is said and done. Were it not for him lying to the commission in December and presenting false evidence, his suspension never would have been reduced to six months and he'd be out the original length until September. As it stands, he's still getting off light. With this latest ruling, his suspension is still over a full two months earlier than it would have been initially, and had the commission upheld the original suspension in December. And again, the reason they didn't is because of lies and false testimony given in December to confuse the commission and sway their decision.

Having a license to fight is not a right, and if you break the rules of those that offer you the privilege to fight there will be consequences. Sonnen broke the rules, plain and simple, that's what happened. He took a banned substance that he didn't have clearance to take, no matter who he claimed to have spoken to and regardless of what medical condition he's claimed to be taking it for. He deceived the commission and committed perjury under oath, and because of all of that they commission suspended him again and upheld it.

And still he can fight again quicker than he would have had they simply upheld his initial suspension in December. So no, Sonnen hasn't paid his dues in "every way, shape and form," and he's not being wrongly persecuted. At the end of the day, he's going to be able to fight again, he just won't be rewarded with the lucrative spot on the Ultimate Fighter prior to his next fight.

Topic Question: Is White ridiculously off-base in saying Sonnen has paid his dues? Or has he? Web visitors, comment below in our new Reader Comment Area (linked to Facebook). App users, send us your thoughts at or visit our desktop website to comment.


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