NSAC's Keith Kizer expects no licensing issues with UFC 148's Chael Sonnen

LAS VEGAS – It may be a lot easier this time around for Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) to get licensed in Nevada.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today told media that he sees no issues with granting the fighter a license to fight at UFC 148, though he will ultimately defer to NSAC Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino.

"He's done his time," Kizer said. "He's come clean on his prior dishonesty, and that's all appreciated."

The UFC announced this morning that Sonnen's rematch with champ Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) is being moved to the July 7 pay-per-view event after venue problems scratched it from UFC 147.

The bout now serves as the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 148, which takes place July 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Earlier interactions between Sonnen and the Nevada commission weren't so friendly. Kizer said the fighter lied about receiving approval from him to use prescribed testosterone for a fight against Nate Marquardt at UFC 109. Kizer said Sonnen also disparaged referee Josh Rosenthal.

These issues were at the center of a closed-door meeting with Kizer, Sonnen and UFC officials to address the alleged lies and discuss what Sonnen should expect if he applied for a second's (cornerman's) license to serve as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 14" opposite Michael Bisping this past year. (Jason "Mayhem" Miller ultimately took Sonnen's spot.)

Kizer said the meeting did not go well and said Sonnen would be required to appear before the commission before being granted the license.

The friction stemmed from an appeal Sonnen raised in late 2010 with the California State Athletic Commission, which suspended him for a year when a drug test following his electrifying fight with Silva at UFC 117 came back for elevated testosterone levels. Sonnen initially said Kizer had granted him permission to use testosterone, though he later clarified that his manager, Matt Lindland, was the one who spoke to the commissioner.

The CSAC then reduced his suspension to six months. But his statements prompted the CSAC to re-suspend him for being dishonest in his testimony and dishonoring the sport when he was convicted of a federal money-laundering conviction in early 2011. Kizer testified before the commission at a hearing that brought the second suspension.

But now, Kizer said the circumstances have changed.

"Last time, I would not issue [Sonnen] an administrative license, so that forced him if he wanted to to go to a hearing," he said. "He chose not to do that – probably the wise move.

"This time, I don't see a problem giving it to him administratively, but that would be the chairman's call. If he says, 'Keith, you're free to do so,' I will do so. If he says, 'Keith, I want him on a commission meeting,' he'll be on a commission meeting."

Sonnen's most recent fight in Nevada came at UFC 109, where he outpointed Marquardt to claim top-contender status.

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