Report: Chael Sonnen Pleads Guilty in Real Estate Case

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By FCF Staff

Chael Sonnen continues to be in the news, as just weeks removed from launching an appeal with the California State Athletic Commission, the Oregonian is reporting that the middleweight contender has pleaded guilty to a single count of money laundering. Government prosecutors are reportedly calling for Sonnen to serve two years probation and the 33 year-old fighter has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and give up his realtor’s license. The maximum penalty for money laundering is a 20 year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine.

The case stems back to real estate deal in 2006, and is the investigation Sonnen cited when he withdrew from running for Oregon House District 37 last year. According to a statement released by the U.S Attorney's Office, Sonnen pleaded guilty to participating in a financial transaction, which “was designed to conceal or disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds of wire fraud.”

Sonnen (25-11-1) dominated MMA headlines throughout much of 2010. After defeating Nate Marquardt in impressive fashion at UFC 109 in February, the outspoken Sonnen was awarded an August bout with champion Anderson Silva. Despite dominating Silva for much of the bout, Sonnen was submitted with a late, fifth round triangle-choke.

Soon after, the Oregon native was suspended for one year by the CSAC, after Sonnen tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Sonnen recently appealed the suspension, arguing that a medical condition requires testosterone treatment, and that he had disclosed the situation with the CSAC. The commission denied the appeal; however, Sonnen’s suspension was reduced to six months.

The UFC has not made any formal announcement regarding Sonnen’s guilty plea or confirmed when and who the middleweight will fight next.