Ultimate Fighting star Chael Sonnen has been suspended due to an ongoing money laundering scandal, TMZ reported Tuesday.
UFC president Dana White opted to suspend the fighter a day after Sonnen plead guilty to money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud, according to the entertainment news website.
A statement issued by the Department of Justice said Sonnen, a licensed realtor in the State of Oregon, admitted that a financial transaction he conducted was designed to conceal or disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds of wire fraud.
Money laundering carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, the statement said, but The Oregonian reported the government was only pushing for Sonnen to serve two years of probation, pay a $10,000 fine, and forfeit his license.
Sonnen’s sentencing was set for March 28 and it appeared that a middleweight match up between Sonnen and Yoshihiro Akiyama, which was being planned for UFC 128, was unlikely, FightLine.com reported.
"Chael Sonnen has gone through a lot in the last few months and we think it’s important for him to focus on getting his personal life together before focusing on his career in the UFC," White said announcing the suspension.
The 33-year-old former NCAA All-American and two-time national champion wrestler has been involved in mixed martial arts fighting since 2002. He has a 25-11-1 record with seven wins coming by knockout.