UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen had his one-year suspension reduced from one year to six months Thursday by the California State Athletic Commission following a long, interesting hearing.
Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports has the details:
A number of questions, regarding disclosure, credibility and fairness of punishment came during the hearing before commissioners voted 3-1 to reduce Sonnen's suspension from a year to six months. His $2,500 fine was upheld. Sonnen will be eligible to fight again in March.
The six-month suspension came about after a proposal to retain the one-year suspension deadlocked, 2-2. Commissioners DeWayne Zinkin and Dr. Van Lemon spoke in favor of retaining the one year-suspension, but were unable to get the needed third vote. Commissioner John Frierson then recommended cutting the sentence in half, to six months, as a compromise. Lemon seemed to go along grudgingly, as did Zinkin, giving the motion the needed three votes.
Another commissioner, Steve Alexander, seemed more sympathetic to Sonnen's side and did not concur with the majority. A fifth commissioner, Eugene Hernandez, was present for most of the hearing but left shortly before the vote in order to catch a flight.
The evidence against Sonnen, which seemed pretty cut-and-dry, was countered by his defense noting he has been prescribed testosterone replacement therapy in which he was prescribed twice-weekly injections beginning in early 2008 by his local physician.
The whole hearing, which was streamed live to the world, was extremely interesting and intriguing. If you missed it, I encourage you to take a full look at Meltzer's report for the full details.