Chael Sonnen and His Metamoris Dilemma

Fightland Blog

By Nick "The Tooth" Gullo


Chael Sonnen will pull out of Metamoris 4. This isn’t official yet, but his head is on the chopping block, and he really has no choice.

For those unaware, this summer Chael was popped for using performance enhancing drugs. For this he paid dearly: his UFC 175 bout versus Vitor Belfort was scrapped, the UFC cut him from their roster, and Fox dismissed him as a television commentator.

All told, he probably lost millions.

At a recent Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) hearing, the commission suspended him for two years without fines, provided he not compete anywhere else. Which, to just about everyone, meant no MMA fights for twenty-four months.

However, yesterday we learned that the NSAC has threatened to fine Chael up to $500,000 for competing in a grappling match against Andre Galvao, at Metamoris 4, on August 9, in Los Angeles.

Many think this is a gross overstepping of government authority. After all, if Chael was going to enter a professional golf tournament, they wouldn’t force him to drop out of that, would they?

So what gives?

Grappling represents a portion of MMA, so logically the NSAC’s reach extends to a jiu jitsu match in California. Except the NSAC has never regulated a grappling tournament. In fact, the NSAC website only mentions the following applications for licensure: “… requirements to become a licensed boxer or kickboxer or mixed martial artist contestant in Nevada.”

The jurisdiction is my emphasis, not theirs. Whether or not the NSAC guidelines allow the commission to regulate grappling is irrelevant. First, because they don’t. Second, because Metamoris 4 will take place in California, not Nevada.

It’s enough to cause brain damage. Forget the logic. Truth is, logic doesn’t matter. Big brother drops his iron fist, you get in line. And in the world of combat governance, the NSAC rules the roost.

The economic impact of boxing and MMA events in Nevada easily reaches into the hundreds of millions per year. This makes the NSAC one of the most powerful agencies in the state. Forget notions of small government and conservative ideologies—in politics, power trumps principles every time.

A recent study by neuroscientist Sukhvinder Obhi demonstrated that power, as represented by authority over others, diminishes our capacity for empathy. As in, deadens those neural pathways without us even realizing. This isn’t a conscious choice. And no, you aren’t immune. Power changes the brain in subtle ways. Hence, the reason your boss is a dickhead who yells at the drop off a hat. Same reason police are routinely caught viciously beating disarmed and vulnerable citizens. And the reason the 1% could give a shit about anyone else.

In the coming weeks, should Chael bow out of Metamoris, many fans will grouse. But consider what’s tipping those scales: on one side, a lopsided match with one of the greatest grapplers to ever grace the mats; on the other, the ability to rehabilitate his image and earn back his lucrative career as one of the best UFC commentators in the business.

For a grown man who needs to feed his family, unfortunately, this isn’t even a choice.

If you’re unhappy with his decision and/or predicament, email the NSAC and include the subject, ‘Fuck Big Brother.’



Check out these related stories:

Chael Sonnen Prepares for His Next Fight

Ralek Gracie on Art, Metamoris, and Chael Sonnen

We’re Psyched to Watch Metamoris 4

Metamoris II