Multiple positive tests for performance-enhancers forced Chael’s early retirement from the UFC and ended his employment with Fox Sports. But you can stop waiting for his apology. Because the American Gangster isn’t sorry.
Mike Bohn at MMAJunkie transcribed the debut of Chael Sonnen’s “You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen” podcast.
“I’m not going to apologize because I’m not sorry” he said. “I’m a consenting adult; I knew exactly what I was doing. This was a premeditated decision. If I go jump in my car and I back up and I hit my neighbor’s garbage cans, I’m sorry for that. This was a calculated decision. I made the decision and I’ll live with it. That’s it. I wouldn’t make any excuses about it.”
Chael explained how his history of using performance enhancers can be attributed to living in a different era:
“I came from a little bit different of a time. This isn’t like the guys of now, this is back – when I grew up through the ’80s I would go to the local health food store, your GNC, whatever it might be, and I take everything on the shelf with the hope something would work. Whether you’re talking protein, whether you’re talking creatines, whatever it might be, if there was a guy on the label and he was big and strong, I would beg my mom and dad to buy me that. I have tried everything over the years with the off chance something might work. Every now and then you’ll find something that does.”
“For me, the litmus test was flawed. Here was my litmus test: can’t be a steroid and it’s got to be legal. I can’t take anything – I don’t want to be in possession or consume anything that’s not legal. And what I’m talking about there is I’m not talking about the commissions and the rules, I’m talking about the law. I’m talking about if I’m holding something in my possession and a police office sees me, am I allowed to have that or aren’t I? If the answer’s, ‘Yes,’ then I’m in. That was my test. If I can get this legally, if there’s a legal medication, I’m taking it. I’m not cross-referencing that with the commission. I’m not going to take the rules or anything over that of a doctor. I told myself to sleep well at night. That’s a flawed test.”
Of course, Sonnen is right about that approach being flawed. Because certain substances, while legal in the context of routine life, may still function as unwelcome performance-enhancers in the context of athletic competition. Otherwise non-criminal, they may be deemed dangerous enough to justify a competitive ban.
Of course, the Commission caught Chael PED-handed.
“As far as it went with these tests and me, it reminded me of calculus class my junior year high school: I’m going to fail them all. You can just quit testing me. I’ll stipulate to it right now. I had a plethora of things in my system. I thought it was out of my system. I had done my own tests and they came back hot. So I never asked for a license and I kept testing myself. I waited until they were clean, I then asked for a license. They gave me a license, and then they tested me. They sent it to a lab that was far superior than the ones I had access to, and they found the stuff in my system. That’s it. I’m beat. I took it and I did it.”
Then the former Republican candidate for political office did something unexpected. He referenced Democrat Bill Clinton as his brother in silent deception, illustrating why he wasn’t initially forthcoming after his positive test.
“To quote Bill Clinton in 1992, ‘I’m not trying to be helpful in your investigation. I will answer your questions, but I am not trying to help you put me away.’ I’m not going to incriminate myself, particularly when you’re dealing with embarrassment. If you did something and you’re ashamed you did it and you’re embarrassed, you’ve got to come out to the public and they’re going to make this known. You don’t have to give yourself up. You can handle that however you want. You can diverge, you can divulge, you can lie about, you can scream about it. You can do whatever you want, but ultimately when it comes out you’re going to have to face the music and that’s it.”
So Chael is being candid now. Or we assume he is. Either way, things have quieted down for Sonnen relatively quickly. He has a brand-new podcast, and he’s no longer sitting with zipped lips in a West Linn bunker. But no matter how well things go moving forward, he’s acquired that pesky and permanent asterisk next to his competitive record.
“I don’t think that an athlete should ever patch that. I don’t think you should ever try to un-fry that egg,” he accepted. “There’s nothing more to the story. I took something, I got caught with it, it’s tarnished and that’s it.”