Sonnen to be granted license

Chael Sonnen
You really thought you could stop Chael Sonnen from fighting?
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.


Another interference attempt by Unite Here, the union that has antagonized the UFC’s efforts at regulation, has caused caused trouble for the UFC. This one, however, ended in failure.

Earlier this week, Unite Here and women’s organization Mass NOW filed complaints with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, demanding that headliner Chael Sonnen be denied a license.

A copy of the Unite Here letter, obtained by FOX Sports, cited the Code of Massachusetts Regulations which allows the commission to deny an application if the holder has been arrested or convicted on a charge involving “moral turpitude.”

The letter pointed out that Sonnen was convicted of money laundering in a case that originated in 2006 when he worked in real estate.

The Mass NOW letter accused Sonnen of engaging in racist, sexist and other discriminatory behaviors.

“Mr. Sonnen has repeatedly made shockingly derogatory statements about women, people of color, homosexuals, immigrants, and other minorities,” it said.

The groups sent over a dozen activists to voice their objection to Sonnen’s licensure request at a Thursday meeting in Boston, but after reviewing all of the available information, Sonnen’s request was granted.

“The State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to license Chael Sonnen in Massachusetts for the Ultimate Fight Championship contest scheduled for August 17, 2013 in Boston,” state athletic commission spokesperson Terrel Harris said in a statement sent to media outlets including FOX Sports. “The decision followed the recommendation of their Medical Advisory Board which considered Sonnen’s physical condition and medical information. The Commission also considered complaints regarding his reputation and character but concluded no information the Commission received should preclude Sonnen’s licensure.”

Unite Here is an affiliate of Culinary Union 226, a Nevada-based group that is attempting to unionize Station Casinos. Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who own Station Casinos, are also co-owners of UFC parent company Zuffa, Inc., and the labor battle has been waged through the states, with New York as the final battleground still holding out on sanctioning MMA.

With the headache out of the way, Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen continues as planned at the TD Garden in Boston.

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