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Yesterday’s Hearing Should Not Impact Yushin Okami’s Title Shot

It’s been a few months, but I’m confident you still remember the feeling.

Anderson Silva, the most successful UFC champion in history, was once again underneath Chael Sonnen, eating punishment as he had for the majority of the previous half hour.  Silva’s unprecedented winning/title defense streak was mere minutes away from a staggering 50-44 decision loss.  Then, it happened: Sonnen, as he is wont to do, neglected his submission defense just long enough for an opponent in inferior position to sink something in.  Silva slapped Sonnen into a tight triangle and, after a brief controversy surrounding the tap, he had extended his run at the top.  And STILL…

While Sonnen was not the anointed contender going into the bout (having lost to previous contender Demian Maia before besting Okami and Marquardt in back-to-back bouts), interest in a rematch was immediate and pervasive.  The reasons were not solely related to ensuring another successful Silva-headlined PPV.  Anderson Silva’s unprecedented (and, frankly, unlikely to be repeated) UFC winning streak has never been tested as it was that night by Chael.  The same man that did the Jedi rain dance on Forrest Griffin’s jaw and saw fit to play air guitar during his previous title defense had lost every round, and decisively.  The sole, gaping hole in Anderson’s game – wrestling – was laid bare for the world to see.  The game plan to defeat Silva had been demonstrated, and Chael appeared to be the best man to attempt to implement it again.

Of course, we all know what happened next – Sonnen came back positive for an elevated testosterone level and the CSAC slapped him with a year long suspension and $2,500 fine (the maximum allowed).  The merits and specifics of yesterday’s theatrics notwithstanding – I’ve been very careful not to condemn nor defend Sonnen until all the facts were out and I am more confused now than ever (I don’t think he’s making up the hypogonadism angle) – California ultimately voted to cut Sonnen’s suspension in half while maintaining the fine.  The idea of giving Sonnen an immediate rematch had died a quick death following the original CSAC suspension, necessitating giving Vitor Belfort (0-0 at middleweight since returning to the UFC) the slot and replacing him with Nate Marquardt to battle Yushin Okami for the next one.  It appears that yesterday’s decision breathed some life back into the notion.

I’m here to snuff it out.

Whether or not Chael had a legitimate, defensible reason for having an elevated testosterone ratio is irrelevant.  While a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription should be all an American needs to get access to the medicine they need, there are protocols and procedures for informing the athletic commission before being allowed to compete, and they were not followed in this case, as Chael essentially admitted under cross-examination yesterday.  Would I like to see a division of punishment between legally obtained supplements/therapy and illegally obtained ones?  Sure – but barring that, each must be treated equally by commissions whose sole purview is to put on competitive, fair and safe mixed martial arts bouts.  Sonnen made that harder by not being more explicit.

While I’m not wholly on board with the Josh Gross “zero tolerance” policy relating to steroids, I sympathize with the sentiments it expresses (and concerns it addresses).  I suppose I rest somewhere between that stance and Mike Fagan’s “as many needles as they can fit” attitude; I’m against PED usage, but not to the point of abandoning my belief in redemption.  A number of MMA fighters have one positive test at some point in their career – if you make a mistake, admit it and change your behavior, I’m on your side, and that holds true for people I’ve never met as well (except Michael Vick).  I do NOT, however, wish to see you go straight from probationary status to main event material. Sonnen should have to win a fight or two to get back in the mix, no matter how much us fans (and his bosses) may want him there now.  Ultimately, it’s about more than that – it’s about sport – and I’ll be shocked to see Sonnen leapfrogging Okami or anyone else to get another shot at Anderson.

Sonnen’s fine may seem pitiful (indeed, it’s less than 5% of the fight-of-the-night bonus he shared with Anderson after the offending bout), and going six months without a payday isn’t something that’s going to generate a lot of tears from the long-term unemployed such as myself (approaching the two year anniversary of having a job).  The punishment meted out by the AC isn’t exactly harsh.  Losing out on the rematch – the endorsements, the exposure, the viewership (Sonnen-Silva was probably Anderson’s most-watched fight) and the very real possibility of actually winning – is, and should be, Sonnen’s main punishment for his transgressions.  Allowing him to go from suspension to rematch for the belt would be shortsighted, immoral and counterproductive for a division that, sooner or later, will be looking for a new champion.

  • AZ Bored

    Sonnen vs Anderson makes more sense from a sporting and a business perspective than any other middleweight fight. Does Okami deserve his shot? Sure he does. Does anyone really want to see that fight? Not really. And that is what matters more than morals, standards, and what ifs.

  • subo

    ^ If that were 100% true, Brock would be defending his belt in a rematch against Kimbo.

  • G Funk

    Almost as long-winded as CRS. Honestly, between the poor writing and many words that don’t really get to where I want them to go, I didn’t finish this post. Sorry Derek…

  • glassjawsh

    everyone agrees (or should if they’re not retarded). accurate but unnecessary post

    also you are beginning to blur the line between “long term unemployed” and “bum” you’d have a job if you really wanted one (ive had as many as 3 jobs at the same time, while working towards a masters degree, in one of the top 5 economically depressed states in the country)

    I didn’t have a job for 2 years once, and then i turned 15

  • Grappo

    how do you pay for gas, insurance, internet, food, rent, utilities, phone, cable without having had a job for 2 years? Daddy Warbucks?

  • G Funk

    Lucky for Subes and sis, they have a mommy to pay for itall!

  • Grappo

    I forgot to mention beer and weeeeeed.

  • CAP

    Mums probly got “ways” to get that weeeed. When I heard that his suspension got cut in half what I really heard was “Okami, to the back of the line”. Surely subo will boycott and go off on a tirade when they announce Chael is next after Vitor…

  • agentsmith

    In my opinion, Sonnen never deserved an immediate rematch in the first place. He lost fair and square.

    I’m curious to see what the UFC does for his next fight though. And probably the biggest question to come out of this is that HRT still seems to be just as much of a gray area as before… the CSAC doesn’t seem to have declared what their stance is on HRT, it’s more like Sonnen’s being punished for fucking up paperwork.

  • JoeRoganIsAnnoying


    Let’s not forget that this bastard walked into a cage that night PUMPED on 4x the amount of Testosterone found in human body… to engage in combat!


    You would have been better served arguing the merit of P.E.D.s, for, and against. You could have discussed how this decision was landmark, as our sport has reached a crossroads, and this “punishment” would resonate throughout MMA, for better or worse. Heck, open the debate for the next generation of fighter’s, and how our sport should be policed..

    Instead, you’ve wasted your time spewing more “man-hate” towards Anderson (whom should be praised for overcoming his most recent “challenger”), while managing to side-step the legitimate question “Should there be legal ramifications/more stringent policy towards athlete’s who’ve been caught using PED’s in competition.

    We’re talking about people’s lives. As the modern athlete becomes bigger, stronger, faster, more knowledgeable, & well-rounded with the regard to skill , it’s paramount that safety protocols for athletes whom are clean be adhered too.

    This contradictory analysis of the situation is compounded by your lack of (or phising for) an ethical basis. Sonnen’s not bad for CHEATING… in a cage… bashing another man’s face… as long as he admits to it and works to change his life?

    Epic Fail.

  • frickshun

    Haha…I like where this is going!!

  • DJ ThunderElbows


    I don’t agree with his username, but his post is fantabulous.

    There can’t be extra hormones of any kind pumping through the arteries of someone who enters into the gentleman’s agreement. You’re allowing this person to legally do anything allowed within the Unified rules to your body. That pact is based on the agreement that you will not enhance your body chemically which increases the threat of brain damage, disabling injury and death.

    And saying it’s only restoring their “natural” levels is bullshit. Their natural levels are what they’ve conditioned their body to produce.* If you condition your body to be slow by training like a bodybuilder, you don’t get to take amphetamines to even shit back out with explosively-conditioned athletes. At least not when your allowed to strike, throw and slam other vertebrates.

    if you wanna sell real estate or run for council or even start your own gym, feel free to level-up.

    * – I have Lactic Acidosis, therefore I need METHH!!!

  • AZ Bored

    Since when is FL filled with a bunch of pussy ass liberals? GTFO

  • subo

    Where, THE FUCK, did I take a shot at Anderson?

  • iamphoenix

    If no one stated this yet…SUBO EAT DICK.

    I’ll read this later. It’s a lot of words, once again.

  • Blackula Jonez

    As a Jackal who does not hate Subo with every fiber in their being I was hoping Derek would hold firm to his anti PED/strict punishment line.

    From a guy who loves to rag on Josh Barnett and his multiple infractions and brag about his hatred of PRIDE because they didn’t test for performance enhancers. How can you then justify the reduced suspension for a fucking cheater?

    I personally think Chael doesn’t deserve an instant rematch (HE WAS FUCKING FINSIHED, NO INSTANT REMATCH) but seeing as the UFC can sell the event as:

    OMG the best p4p fighter nearly lost to this guy. How exciting will the second fight be if the Champs ribs are completely healed and the challenger isn’t roided up

    They can still make $$$, which should be the main goal of every for profit business. The problem is that Subo keeps trying to pull this line of “The UFC is protecting and promoting the sanctity of MMA” which I am pretty sure it is in their top 10 things to do on their itinerary. But I am also pretty sure their top 5 are all variants of MAKING FUCKING MONEY.