Chael Sonnen was on the top of the world as you could say. He had a title fight in front of him against Anderson Silva and was considered by many to be the one to dethrone the Middleweight Champion. With the title nearly in his grasp he suffered the defeat late in the 5th round and it seemed with that loss a domino effect took effect.
After his defeat at UFC 117 the life of Chael Sonnen began to hit a downward spiral. A few weeks after his bout, the California State Athletic Commission found him testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone and made many question his actions.
Sonnen appealed his one year ban and had it reduced to 6 months and a 2500 dollar fine. But the black eye was noted by fans and fellow fighters as what he did is still questioned even after his explanation of why his levels were so high. This wasn't the end to his problems as it was only the beginning.
After being out of the media spotlight for many months Sonnen came back with a flurry on twitter, going at Wanderlei Silva for his tweets and being the person he was before the positive test result. Sonnen is known for his trash talking and building up fights to maximize the selling of a future fight and trying to play the mind games with his opponent. He was trying to get back into the world of MMA that he knew but his personal life again took the turn for the worse.
According to the The Oregonian on January 3rd Sonnen pled guilty to one count of money laundering. Below is a snippet from the article and exactly what it means.
" The 33-year-old Portlander pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a single count of money laundering. The charges stemmed from a 2006 home sale in which Sonnen and others involved in the deal steered a $69,091 kickback to the buyer.
As part of his plea deal, Sonnen agreed to give up his Realtor's license and pay a $10,000 fine, said Michelle Holman Kerin, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case. "
After this information was released a few days later Dana White and The UFC decided to freeze his contact, in order for Sonnen to get his life in order before he can enter the Octagon again. It has been a troubling 6 months for him and with the incidents piling up; there is no reason why you can't "suspend" him from action.
You can make the point he was one of the best wrestlers and fighters in his weight class but with so many issues surrounding him it could become detrimental to the company. He is an excellent fighter and being that close to winning the championship is something that can give him the motivation he needs. However, with him losing it has been a blessing in disguise for the UFC as what followed.
Sonnen will be back soon enough in the Octagon but right now his personal issues have become the situation he has to handle. Dana White has said nothing but good things to say about him and once he straightens out his issues he will be back in the MMA much sooner than later.
Sonnen can be one of the greats again but with the problems he has it will be interesting to see how he is accepted back. One way or another you know Sonnen will be back when he sends out a tweet towards another fighter insulting them. Hopefully there is no more surprises for Chael Sonnen and the UFC and he can concentrate what he is good at and that is Mixed Martial Arts.