Things aren't looking good for Chael Sonnen's dream, which he shares with UFC head honcho Dana White, of being redeemed as a babyface coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter by standing up to brash foreign heel Michael Bisping. Time is running out on him, as his issues with Keith Kizer, the canny Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, haven't been as easy to sort out as he surely hoped for. With Kizer failing to fall for Sonnen's "I didn't lie, I accidentally misspoke" flim-flam, now Sonnen is so desperate that he's resorted to a pretence of contrition and throwing his long time manager Matt Lindland under a bus by firing him in what may ultimately prove a futile "too little, too late" gesture to get his license approved in time. His licensing aspirations were struck down by a double whammy this week.
Firstly, Sonnen's date with the Nevada State Athletic Commission has been pushed back from April 27th to mid May, cutting it fine for the TUF coaching spot. Here Sonnen's money laundering criminal past bit him in the ass again. In a move to prevent violence from rival motorcycle gangs at the Laughlin River Run 2011, all convicted felons are being denied entry into Clark County, Nevada next week, so Sonnen had no choice but to move his hearing to a later date.
Secondly, and more importantly, Dave Meltzer dropped this bombshell on his April 19th subscribers only radio show:
Dave Meltzer: California is unhappy with Mr. Sonnen, so he may have to um, I don't know, they may reopen his hearing there in that state.
Bryan Alvarez: Based on statements he made under oath?
Dave Meltzer: Mmmhmm, that were not true. That might do it to you.
This is a very interesting turn of events and could influence the Nevada hearing in one of two ways. Perhaps knowing that the California commission is also unhappy with Sonnen will embolden the Nevada commissioners to take strong action against him for his lies about Keith Kizer and for having apparently fought in Nevada on several occasions while taking unapproved testosterone treatment, which given Sonnen's shady behaviour it must not have been for legitimate medical reasons. A more cynical take is that this gives an opening for Kizer and the NSAC to wash their hands of the Sonnen situation like Pontius Pilate and pass the buck back to the California commission. Sonnen will still rightly get punished (or at the very least tut tutted publicly) for his perjury, but Nevada aren't the bad guys who piss off Dana White and the fans in the process.
The Nevada hearing may be a comparative cakewalk to a second hearing in front of the California commission. I mean the two commissioners, Steve Alexander and John Frierson, that fell for his story that he had a legitimate medical need for the testosterone that he took and was confused about the protocol for getting it approved in the state are probably very embarrassed by the stories that he lied at the hearing where they failed to uphold his one year suspension. As we saw with Josh Barnett, the California commission takes a very dim view when they feel they are being or have been lied to. I imagine if Sonnen has a second hearing in California then he'll find much less sympathetic ears than the first time around. Because no person in authority likes being taken for as a mark by someone who was too clever by half.