In a shocking announcement, Chael Sonnen has officially retired from mixed martial arts one day after failing a drug test.

Walking Mouthpiece

Sonnen broke out the news during Wednesday’s edition of The UFC Tonight, where he serves as analyst. He was scheduled to fight Vitor Belfort on July 5 in Las Vegas when the fight was cancelled after the failed drug test. His retirement marks the end of a career that started in 1997 and included three failed attempts to win a UFC belt. Sonnen bids goodbye with a record of 28-14-1. He will always be remembered as the UFC’s walking mouthpiece, the guy who talked his way to big fights.

Banned Substances

On Tuesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed that the 37 year old Sonnen had tested positive for two banned substances: Anastrozole and Clomiphene. The former is a drug which is usually taken to treat early stages of breast cancer. The latter is mostly used in cases of female infertility. Both drugs are anti-estrogen medications and are included in the World Doping Agency’s banned substances list.

Sonnen admitted to taking both drugs for fertility reasons and to prevent the side effects of quitting Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) which was banned by the NSAC last February. Before the ban Sonnen was able to compete because he had medical approval and exemption to use TRT.

Health and Family First

Sonnen stated that “legitimate medical conditions” won’t allow him to stop taking those medications, hence retirement was the only option. He added that he has put his health and family first, noting that “if he knew before” that the medications worked and get his wife pregnant, he would “do exact thing 20 times.” Sonnen added that there will be a day when he “will no longer have the title of fighter” but he “never wants to see a day that he doesn’t have the title of parent, father and husband.”

Sonnen then went on to thank a lot of people and organizations. Of course, he never forgot to thank former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Rivalry with Anderson

Sonnen’s career peaked in 2009 when he began calling out and taunting then middleweight king Anderson Silva in various interviews and public appearances. Sonnen got his wish and fought Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in August 2010. Surprisingly, he dominated the Brazilian legend for four rounds before losing by submission via triangle choke in the final round. The fight earned praises for Sonnen and his career took off.

Sonnen was able to get a rematch with Silva at UFC 148 in July 2012. But this time, Silva took care of business in just two rounds and defeated Sonnen via TKO. The bout remains as the UFC’s highest grossing event in Las Vegas with a live gate receipt of $7M and an attendance of 15,016.

In his retirement statement, Sonnen thanked Silva whom he called as a “dance partner” and the most important opponent he had. He said that he couldn’t have gotten to where he is without Silva. He then ended the topic of Silva by thanking him for the “invitation to the barbeque” even if he didn’t take Silva up on it.

Sonnen’s departure from active competition will leave a void in the UFC especially since Chael has been one of its top draws and attractions with his uncanny ability to talk his way into the heads of bigger named fighters. But Sonnen is expected to remain with the UFC as an analyst, where he can use his gift of gib in the proper venue.

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