One glaring example is Mike Tyson. In 1997 he infamously bit a portion of Evander Holyfield’s ear off during a fight in Las Vegas. The Nevada State Athletic Commission revoked his license and fined him $3 million. But then a year later, NSAC voted 4–1 to restore his boxing license.
Antonio Margarito was suspended “for at least a year” by the California State Athletic Commission in January 2009 for having illegal handwraps, ‘loaded’ with a plaster-of-paris type substance that would have hardened and made his punches a lot more damaging, possibly lethal.
He was relicensed in May 2010, despite evidence having come to light that suggested he may have had ‘loaded gloves’ in previous fights. Margarito earned himself further notoriety recently when he was filned mocking Manny Pacqiao’s trainer Freddie Roach by mimicking the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, which Roach suffers from.
In comparison to these two examples from the world of boxing, Sonnen’s offences are relatively minor. Any false testimony provided at his first CSAC hearing should of course be punished, but one would imagine something of a financial nature would be more fitting than the indefinite removal of his right to fight.
I wouldn’t say there’s a bias that lets boxers off easier. It seems pretty obvious to me that the commissions WANT to let fighters fight. If you can give them even the most half-assed reason to let horrific shit slide, they’ll take it and move on rather than having to take a stand. But Chael got himself into a situation where the commission HAD to do something. If you lie to a commission about another commission and that other commission calls you on it, something kinda sorta has to be done.
I’m in agreement that Chael doesn’t deserve to be turfed out of MMA forever, but that hasn’t happened by a long shot. Chael’s out till the end of June, and after that he’ll be free to fight anywhere but California and Nevada. And if he shows up before either of those commissions in six months with pictures of himself teaching children to wrestle and some willingness to admit some fucking wrongdoing, I bet they’d give him his license back too.