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Chael Sonnen’s suspension reduced, Josh Barnett’s license still in limbo after CSAC hearing

As expected, two well-known Mixed Martial Artists met with the CSAC this week to address their PED-related statuses in the Golden State. Five Ounces of Pain‘s Bryan Ward offers readers a look into the proceedings…

Josh Barnett appeared before the California State Athletic Commission on Thursday without counsel and attempted to apply for a new license to fight in the State under the hopeful presumption that his license had expired as a year has passed since he was denied renewal; that he would simply need begin a new license application process, more or less “starting from scratch”. Barnett’s angle was that for his “new” license he would provide new paperwork and a fresh sample for any necessary screening for performance enhancing drugs.

However, the commission went on to advise Strikeforce‘s Barnett that his 2009 positive PED test would not be overlooked and proof of “rehabilitation” since the failed test would be necessary for the granting of a new license to be considered, as would a CSAC hearing where a series of probing questions would be asked. Ultimately, the affable heavyweight was granted a continuance until the next CSAC hearing and any hopes of avoiding an appeal-esque hearing were dashed. Barnett will have to seek counsel for representation at the future meeting. During the proceeding Barnett referred to being “caught off-guard” by the entire process, as he had only planned to reapply and not prepared to testify under oath. At times the CSAC group seemed a bit confused as too, at points questioning each other on what exactly Barnett was attempting to do or what his actual status in California was.

Also on the CSAC’s “main card”, UFC 185-pound contender Chael Sonnen approached the December 2 hearing in far different fashion than did Barnett, appearing alongside a long-winded attorney, his counsel’s sidekick, and a gum-chewing, T-Shirt-wearing, doctor. The dog-and-pony show that unfolded must be seen to be believed, as in the end, Sonnen’s yearlong suspension was decreased to six months with the $2,500 fine being upheld. Sonnen will be given credit for “time served” towards the suspension which will keep the embattled fighter/politician out of MMA action until March 2.

Here is CSAC-issued video of Thursday’s hearing:

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