CHAEL SONNEN: GUILTY ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGE

CHAEL SONNEN

UFC fighter, politician, businessman Chael Sonnen pleaded guilty to one federal count of money laundering Monday. The charge stemmed from a 2006 transaction with Sonnen’s real estate company. Sonnen apparently had a client write a $69,000 check to a plumbing company for work that was never done.

2010 was an up-and-down year for Sonnen. He broke through as one of the UFC’s biggest stars and most loquacious interviews. He also won the Republican nomination for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives. His UFC 117 fight with Anderson Silva was one of the best MMA fights of the year. On the other hand, Sonnen suffered a last second loss to Silva after dominating the entire fight. He then tested positive for steroids and was given a year suspension (later reduced to six months.) Sonnen then mysteriously withdrew from his House race citing “legal issues.”

Sonnen’s 2011 got off to a bad start Monday when those legal difficulties were revealed. Sonnen will not go to jail despite the money laundering conviction. The Justice Department has suggested two years of probation for the fighter. Sonnen also agreed to give up his real estate license and pay a fine.

The conviction comes right before Sonnen’s scheduled return to the Octagon at UFC 128 in March. However, TMZ is reporting that the UFC has suspended Sonnen and “temporarily frozen” his contract.

CHAEL SONNEN BACK WHEN HE WAS ON THE OTHER END OF THE GAVEL

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