Top ranked middleweight contender Chael Sonnen had his suspension for failing a pre-fight drug test upheld by the California State Athletic Commission but reduced by six months at a hearing regarding the matter yesterday.
The test came back hot following Sonnen's near middleweight title win against Anderson Silva at UFC 117.
Sonnen and his legal team used the defense that Sonnen was taking testosterone injections for Testosterone Replacement Therapy, a claim that was backed by Sonnen's doctor. This seemed to stick with the CSAC as this can be an issue in athlete's Sonnen's age, their issue being, Sonnen did not disclose his use of the banned substance properly.
Sonnen had told commissioner George Dodd about his use of the drug directly the day of the weigh in's but had failed to report it on his pre-fight medical. For this, the suspension will stick.
Sonnen will be eligible to return to action March 2nd and could very well find himself fighting for the middleweight title right away as he had been scheduled to rematch Silva in early 2011 but was forced to withdraw due to the suspension. Vitor Belfort will challenge Silva while Sonnen sits on the bench.