Competitor Chael Sonnen won’t be fighting Vitor Belfort at UFC 175. The three-time UFC title challenger failed a random drug test and has been pulled from the July 5 event. “The Phenom” was brought in as a replacement for Wanderlei Silva after he was forced out of his grudge match against Sonnen for failing to apply for a license and skipping a pre-fight drug test.
Sonnen took a random test late last month while in Las Vegas attending a press conference to promote UFC 175. Those results showed traces of the banned substances Clomiphene and Anastrozole. Sonnen appeared on FOX Sports 1 to give his side of the story and admitted to using the legal drugs as part of his transition period off of testosterone-replacement therapy.
“The American Gangster” maintained he didn’t realize he was violating any rules because he wasn’t using performance-enhancing drugs or steroids and that the testing took place out of competition. He says it was a decision where he chose his personal health over the sport. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency does have both drugs on its banned list for both in and out of competition.
Sonnen had been on TRT for his last several fights after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, however, those circumstances would change earlier this year when the Nevada State Athletic Commission imposed an outright ban on TRT. UFC 175 would have been the first fight for Sonnen since ending his TRT program.
The 37-year-old charismatic trash-talker hasn’t fought since being stopped in the first round by former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 167 in November. He’d been hoping that a victory over Belfort would have been his path to another middleweight title shot. Now the fight against the explosive Brazilian has been scuttled after the positive test results. Sonnen intends to appeal his case before the commission.
The loss of the Sonnen-Belfort matchup is no doubt a disappointing turn of events for one of the UFC’s biggest cards and weekends of the year.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.