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Before fight, Sonnen informed state he was taking testosterone

September 21, 2010 |  5:53 pm

Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, who faces a year-long suspension after testing positive for an abnormal level of testosterone before his Aug. 7 loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva, documented his prior use of testosterone with a state inspector, California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer George Dodd said Tuesday.

Dodd said Sonnen approached him at his Aug. 6 drug test in Oakland and said, "I'm taking something," which caused Dodd to summon an inspector to document the substance, which was testosterone.

Dodd explained the fight was allowed to proceed because there was no "conclusive evidence from a laboratory" that Sonnen had violated rules against performance-enhancing drug use.

"This [testosterone use] could be for medical reasons," Dodd said. "That's what the appeal process is for."

Sonnen reportedly will appeal his suspension, and the state commission will next meet Dec. 2 in Sacramento to probably hear the appeal. Dodd said he has not received the appeal yet.

The issue before the commission will be to decide whether Sonnen had a legitimate medical use for testosterone, and, if so, why it elevated his level beyond what is acceptable and normal.

The repercussions are significant. The brash Sonnen talked a big game in predicting he'd conquer Silva, who has been middleweight champion since October 2006. Sonnen was handily winning the fight when Silva submitted him in the fifth and final round. The compelling Silva-Sonnen rematch was being planned for early next year, UFC officials said. Now, that bout is in jeopardy of not happening.

"If this is all true, I feel sorry for Chael," Silva's manager, Ed Soares, said. "He put on a great performance, the best performance of his life and, unfortunately, it's tarnished by this.

"It just makes Anderson look like a more incredible fighter."

Dodd said the burden will be on Sonnen to explain what was happening.

"He'll have to provide medical documentation, explain why he was taking it, and then it's up to the commissioners," Dodd said. "I don't know why he'd be taking it. I don't know what Chael plans to say."

--Lance Pugmire

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