Silva, 40, appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday for a disciplinary hearing regarding several drug tests he failed leading up to a fight against Nick Diaz in January.
The NSAC unanimously voted to suspend Silva one year, retroactive to the date of the fight, and fined him $380,000.
Silva claimed that one of the substances he tested positive for, the anabolic steroid drostanolone, came from a contaminated sexual performance-enhancing drug. Sonnen, who received a two-year suspension from the NSAC in July 2014, says it ultimately doesn't matter how a banned substance gets in a fighter's system -- and any admission by Silva only led to embarrassment.
"Guys who dig their heels in and come out and deny and lie and refuse to admit the findings of the test have always been treated more harshly," said Sonnen, now an MMA analyst for ESPN. "In Anderson's case, he went down swinging all the way to the end."
When asked if he believed Silva's story, Sonnen responded, "No, the defense was very silly and ridiculous." But Sonnen reiterated that's not entirely the point.
Sonnen's point is that any defense is a weak defense when going up against the NSAC.
"I'm just not sure why he thought he needed to put it up there," Sonnen said. "These tests are bulletproof. It was found in his system and that's the end of it. The reason why it was in his system is simply irrelevant. Guys that end up in this spot -- and I'm one of those guys, I can tell you from firsthand experience -- like to make a big case and a big show about why it was in their system. But look guys, it's pass-fail. You took and you competed. You're in violation."
Sonnen said he found it interesting that the NSAC implemented a "minimum" punishment, although that's not completely accurate. Suspensions for first-time offenders in Nevada typically range from nine months to one year. The NSAC is expected to increase those penalties later this year.
Prior to fighting Diaz, Silva (33-6) hadn't fought in 13 months due to a broken leg suffered during a title fight against Chris Weidman in December 2013. Sonnen said if Silva's steroid use was related to that injury, he should have the right to take advantage of any supplement, but that means he can't be accepting fights.
"He had a leg that was broken in two," Sonnen said. "I think ethically, he had the right to turn to the free market or black market if he's trying to heal his leg. What he cannot do is also compete. He's got to choose one.
"He didn't need to touch on five different dimensions and insult everyone's intelligence. Just tell everybody, 'Yeah, I did it.'"
Sonnen challenged Silva for the UFC middleweight title twice, in 2010 and 2012, going 0-2 against the Brazilian. Sonnen announced his retirement from MMA shortly after the NSAC suspended him.