- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Monday in favor of granting UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen a conditional therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy.
The ruling clears Sonnen to use the treatment as he prepares for a title fight against Anderson Silva on July 7 in Las Vegas, assuming he complies with two conditions from the panel.
Sonnen will stop receiving the testosterone injections prior to the fight at a date determined by NSAC executive director Keith Kizer. He must also submit a blood sample the day after the fight and remain below the 6:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone level accepted by the NSAC.
After reviewing Sonnen's medical records, NSAC physician Dr. Timothy Trainor testified Monday that he concurs with the diagnosis of Sonnen's physician regarding low testosterone levels.
"In my opinion, it does appear Chael Sonnen has a problem with Hypogonadism," Trainor testified, via conference call. "I do believe he's being treated appropriately."
Sonnen (27-11-1) was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone following a title fight against Silva in August 2010.
During a disciplinary hearing later that year, Sonnen testified he had informed Kizer of his use of testosterone therapy. He later explained it was his former manager, Matt Lindland, who carried out that conversation.
At the NSAC hearing Monday, Sonnen testified he was diagnosed with low testosterone levels in 2008. He said every athletic commission that licensed him during that time knew of his treatment, although he never informed them personally.
At one point in the meeting, NSAC chairman Raymond Avansino asked Sonnen whether or not he had ever taken an anabolic steroid, which can cause long-term low levels of testosterone among users.
"I've never taken steroids," Sonnen answered.
One concern Dr. Trainor expressed was that Sonnen showed low levels of testosterone at a test taken on May 5. The physician expressed the importance that Sonnen follow a strict treatment program in order to prevent his levels from fluctuating drastically.