By Marc Weinreich
June 11, 2014

Chael Sonnen was 43-28 in his MMA career. (Josh Hedges/Getty Images) Chael Sonnen was 28-14 in his MMA career. (Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

UFC fighter Chael Sonnen announced his retirement from competitive Mixed Martial Arts on Wednesday night following news a day earlier that he had failed a drug test.

Speaking on Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight -- footage of which can be seen below -- the 37-year-old Sonnen said he would take the drugs for which was subsequently banned "20 times" if it meant allowing him to have a family. The MMA fighter was found to have anti-estrogen medications anastrozole and clomiphene in his system, substances banned in the sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Sonnen said he had legitimate medical needs for the substances.

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He explained in the broadcast that aired Wednesday night:

"If it puts me out of compliance 20 more times, then let's stop. I will remove myself. There is going to be a day where I don't have the title of fighter. That was always going to happen. I never want there to be a day where I don't have the title of parent, father and husband. My health has got to come first."

Because of the failed drug test, the UFC pulled him from a light heavyweight bout vs. Vitor Belfort on July 5 in Las Vegas.

In his farewell Wednesday night, Sonnen thanked fellow MMA fighter Anderson Silva for being his "dance partner" throughout his career. Sonnen challenged Silva for the title in 2010 and '12. The rematch in July 12, UFC 148, is still to this day the highest-grossing UFC event ever held in Las Vegas, drawing some 15,016 people to the event and producing a live gate of $7 million. Silva, who had his 16-match win streak and 10 titles defensed snapped last year, defeated Sonnen by TKO in the second round of UFC 148:

"I want to thank the single most important opponent I ever had," Sonnen said. "I couldn't have gotten to where I am without this dance partner and that is, of course, Anderson Silva. I thank you for the opportunity and the memories."

Sonnen's announcement Wednesday brings a 17-year career to an end. He first fought professionally in May, 1997 and compiled an overall MMA record of 28-14 with one no-contest.

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