UFC contender Chael Sonnen faces suspension for positive drug test


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Chael Sonnen, the brash Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender who nearly defeated champion Anderson Silva in August, tested positive for a steroid before the fight in Oakland and faces a year-long suspension, California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer George Dodd said Sunday.

Sonnen will have 30 days to appeal his suspension and $2,500 fine, said Dodd, clouding UFC plans for a Sonnen-Silva rematch early next year in Nevada. UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and President Dana White did not immediately respond to messages left Sunday night by The Times. Dodd said Sonnen received written notification of his positive sample in a letter the athletic commission sent Friday.


Dodd said Sonnen’s positive test emerged from a urine sample he gave before the fight that was processed through the UCLA Olympic drug-testing lab.

Sonnen nearly became the first man to beat Silva since the Brazilian became champion in 2006. Sonnen won all four rounds on the judges scorecards, but then was submitted in the fifth in the fight at Oracle Arena. The talkative Sonnen has drawn attention by ridiculing Silva and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, and denying a recording in which he was alleged to have said cyclist Lance Armstrong “gave himself cancer” by engaging in performance-enhancing drug use.

--Lance Pugmire