Two years ago, former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Unlike many fighters who end up testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs or banned substances, Sonnen didn’t try to fight the results of the tests, saying, “yes, the Commission is aware of other prescribed medications I was taking and I will not challenge their allegations.”
Sonnen, who was 37 at the time, announced his retirement from mixed-martial-arts after being hit with a two-year suspension by the NSAC.
“I want to officially announce my retirement from competitive mixed-martial-arts. I do want to admit fault. I want to make sure I’m taking full responsibility.”
Since his retirement, Sonnen has said that he’s never going to return to fighting. But his suspension will be coming to an end this June, and many are thinking that he’ll end up coming out of retirement soon thereafter.
According to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, Mike Roberts, who is Chael Sonnen’s manager, believes that Sonnen will end up coming out of retirement for the right fight.
“I firmly believe if the right fight and offer come along Chael will jump at the chance to fight again. He is as competitive as they come”
Back in November, Roberts said that he “absolutely believes” that Chael Sonnen will end up fighting again. However, Sonnen told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that his manager is wrong, and that he won’t be stepping inside the octagon ever again.
“Yeah, [Roberts] is wrong about that. He’s told me that before, too. He’s told me, ‘I don’t think you’re done. I think that there’s more.’ So, that is his opinion. He wasn’t just talking out of school on that one. But I am not going to fight again, if that’s what you’re asking. I am done fighting.”
There has been some speculation that Sonnen will make his return to the octagon at this July’s UFC 200 show, which is expected to be the biggest pay-per-view event in the history of the company. The show may feature former WWE star CM Punk’s UFC debut, and, depending on what happens at this weekend’s UFC 196, Conor McGregor may end up fighting for the lightweight or welterweight championship.
Sonnen’s return to the octagon would definitely help UFC 200 become the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history, but there isn’t exactly an obvious opponent for the “Gangster from West Linn.”
Before he announced his retirement, Sonnen said he wanted to fight Anderson Silva again. Of course, the two have fought twice previously, with “The Spider” coming out with the victory in both fights. However, Sonnen did nearly defeat Silva in their epic first fight back in August of 2010, and he was doing pretty well until he tried a spinning back fist in their rematch in July of 2012. So, a third fight between the two wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Sonnen probably still wants to fight Wanderlei Silva. But Wanderlei has just signed with Bellator MMA, so unless Sonnen decides to sign with the UFC’s chief competitor, he won’t get that fight.
Nick Diaz would be a good opponent for Sonnen, and it definitely would be a fight that would draw a lot of attention, as the two of them are among the best personalities in UFC history. Diaz’s last fight, which was against Anderson Silva, was at middleweight, which is where Sonnen had most of his success. So, if Sonnen decides to come out of retirement, a fight between the two wouldn’t be completely out of the question.
[Featured image via Esther Lin/MMA Fighting]