January 3, 2011 – According to multiple sources including UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen has plead guilty to a federal money laundering charge. A report by Oregon’s Lake Oswego Review indicated that Sonnen, a licensed realtor and former Republican representative in Oregon’s 37th district, admitted to a judge today that he was a party to a financial transaction “designed to hide or disguise the ownership and control of proceeds of mortgage fraud,” citing a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
For Chael Sonnen, these charges could have very serious implications for his UFC career as money laundering is punishable by a sentence of up to twenty years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. With that revelation, it is highly probably that fans may never see the outspoken fighter in the cage ever again. We will know for sure when he is sentenced on March 28th, according to The Columbian Newspaper.
Marcus Williams, a special agent and spokesperson for IRS criminal investigations in the Northwest issued the following public statement regarding the case:
“West Linn residents, and other residents throughout the Portland-Vancouver area, can rest assured knowing that federal law enforcement agencies take mortgage fraud very seriously because it played a major role in almost crippling this nation’s banking system just a few years ago,” he said.
Indeed, the upcoming federal verdict could spell the conclusion for the most enigmatic fighter in mixed martial arts today. Known as the man who dominated the Anderson Silva for four out of five rounds in their championship bout at UFC 117, Chael Sonnen has trashed-talked his way into mainstream stardom in recent years. Known for making the news and delivering instant classic soundbytes, the PR-talented fighter has also appeared as a commentator on multiple outlets, including ESPN. Now, fresh off a suspension related to a failed drug test and facing this latest challenge, it seems like Sonnen’s time in the spotlight may indeed be nearing its end.
One wonders what might have happened in the much anticipated rematch with “The Spyder” had it gone down.
What a waste.
Not so fast.
It now seems Chael Sonnen may avoid the takedown once again. According to the last paragraph of OregonLive.com’s report, Chael may have admitted his guilty role in the money laundering scheme as part of a plea deal designed to bring down others involved in the case. The plea has him agreeing to give up his Realtor’s license, paying a $10,000 fine, and accepting two-years probation, this per Michelle Holman Kerin, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case. In other words, Chael may not see jail time and we could be seeing Sonnen in a UFC cage sometime soon after all.