The long awaited return of Chael Sonnen now has a date set. The human soundbite and testosterone junkie will finally reappear at UFC 136 in a middleweight matchup against former Marine Brian Stann. Sonnen has been suspended since August 2010 when he tested positive for high testosterone levels following his incredible fight with long-time UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
UFC 136 is scheduled for October 8 in Houston and Sonnen’s return will be the most followed story in the event’s build up. He was clearly dominating Silva for four-and-a-half rounds at UFC 117 before being caught in a triangle choke. Sonnen was this close to taking down the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, and then everything unraveled.
Shortly after the fight he registered the positive test, and was suspended for a year. Sonnen appealed the ruling but it was upheld after a court battle and appeal. He claims he was using testosterone because he was diagnosed with hypogonadism in 2008 and the injections are needed twice a week to keep the condition under control. The California State Athletic Commission reduced his sentence to six months in light of that admission.
Then, Sonnen was scheduled to face Yoshihiro Akiyama on March 19, 2011 at UFC 128, but the fight was put on hold after Sonnen pled guilty to charges of money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud in January of this year. As a result of his plea, and agreeing to cooperate with authorities, he was fined $10,000 and sentenced to two years of probation. Following that the California State Athletic Commission put Sonnen on indefinite suspension until his current fight license ran out (on June 29, 2011). Sonnen has since re-applied for his license and it looks like the fight with Stann can go forward as planned.
Got all that? Good. I just want you all to understand that if Sonnen had been destroyed by Silva instead of giving him his toughest fight in years, Dana White and the UFC would have cut him a long, long time ago. Aside from being a major headache, Sonnen is insane. No, seriously, he’s legitimately crazy.
Brian Stann on the other hand, is exactly what’s right with the UFC. A decorated veteran of the Iraq War (he earned the Silver Star for his heroics when his platoon was ambushed near Karabilah) Stann retired from the Marines as a Captain. He is 11-3 in his MMA career, and formerly held the WEC light heavyweight championship. Since joining the UFC he is 5-2, but has won three straight, including an impressive knockout of Jorge Santiago at UFC 130. Two of his wins in his current streak have earned Fight of the Night honors as well.
Stann is definitely an up-and-comer in the UFC and his fight with Sonnen should be a fun one to watch. We’re eagerly anticipating it.