Fresh off the press today, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that Alistair Overeem — the UFC’s heavyweight challenger to current champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 147 — tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone weeks after his random pre-fight drug test. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the NSAC’s limit is 6:1 and Overeem’s clocked in at 10:1. Beyond being a dishonorable thing to do to your family, team, and fans, it is simply the worse career decision a fighter can make when so much in on the line.

I’m sure plenty of people are saying, “Are we really surprised though?” Obviously, suspicion has been at the forefront of everybody’s mind since Overeem made the transition from a light heavyweight to starring as The Thing in Hollywood’s dog pile interpretation of The Fantastic Four. I chuckled when he ate horse meat for “The Voice,” Michael Schiavello, during an interview. I blew off heated accusations against his size and ultimately decided to take the naive path, hoping he could add an exciting dynamic to the UFC’s heavyweight division.

Though deep in the pits on my gut, I had my doubts.

Of course, I held my breath before the Brock Lesnar fight when Overeem’s entourage was having “miscommunication” issues and “scheduling conflicts” during his last pre-fight screening. So, am I surprised? No, but I am certainly disappointed and shocked that a fighter who finally got his opportunity to prove his status as a top-ranked heavyweight in the most lucrative organization on the planet succumbed to the pressure and searched out artificial, yet unnecessary, advantages leading up to the biggest fight in his career against dos Santos.

Sure, if all 170 pounds of me had to step into a cage to fight a destroyer like dos Santos, I would need all the performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s), an adult diaper (I have nervous bowels) and a katana in both hands to have a shot at victory. But Overeem is a legitimate contender, bringing enough of his own tools to give dos Santos a run for his money. It doesn’t make sense when you break down the risk and reward. He didn’t need testosterone enhancement to be competitive in this title fight.

Is the risk of getting caught — and potentially kicked out of the UFC — worth the marginal strength and recovery edge in the Octagon and in the gym? There is really no precise way to measure this hypothetical, but I can only imagine that the physical benefits during a training camp can only really be on par with saying a prayer on your skill set for 25 minutes during a fight. The latter won’t high kick you into the unemployment line.

Where are the huge fight night returns? There seems to be little to none.

Therefore, we have to assume he planned on cycling it out leading up to the event, leaving us to believe that the main reason why “Overroid” (Yes, the play on words has begun. I’ve gone this far…) stuck his glutes during practice was to make the high intensity of training easier on the body.

Clearly, it wasn’t going to improve his Octagon execution. So at best, it may have made his journey through training hell a smoother ride. And, assuming it was possible to add more muscle mass to this juggernaut, maybe he would have seen a slight strength edge come fight night (I’m not a physician, but I’d wager the use of “slight” is comparatively accurate here).

All these risky variables for minimal advantages just to ensure a secure position on top of money mountain? It doesn’t seem worth it then, and it surely isn’t now.

The risk is monumental in this case — it completely outweighs the reward he could have achieved on his own. Assuming Overeem’s nightmares came true and he lost, what is the worse case scenario here? First off, he took the expressway to the belt via dominating a pro-wrestler turned fighter, who was daydreaming about Wrestlemania for the entirety of his fight. I’m sure his contract extends past two fights and even with a loss, he remains a top-five heavyweight likely to get another crack or two at the belt — the heavyweight division looks better than it has in the past, but it is still shallow.

Furthermore, his freakish build (even without PED’s, this guy is a protein enthusiast who would have continued to be bigger than most) and explosive striking would have preserved his co-main event and headlining spot on future cards until an unlikely consecutive losing streak. A loss would not have been the end of the world for the international star.

Maybe “Uberreem” lacked confidence in his potential to defeat his opponent naturally, to remain a force at heavyweight and ultimately a highly-paid main event draw for years to come in the UFC. Maybe a regression back to smaller shows at this point in his career was too frightening of a thought.

Unfortunately for his future, he is more than likely going to face his fears in the coming days — especially after insuring the Zuffa brass that he would pass all his drug screenings back when he signed his contract. Plain and simple: this was the worse career move the Dutchman could have made. Dana told the press after news broke that he didn’t have a “plan B” for an alternative to the dos Santos vs. Overeem main event. Well, I’d suggest to Overeem to start creating one for himself that didn’t include those three iconic letters across his four-ounce gloves.

Photo: Alistair Overeem (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

This piece was authored by Joe Schafer. You can find Joe on Twitter: @joeschafer84

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  • Cole

    ” overroid ” I suggest all fighters take steroids, growth harmone, testosterone , etc. I want to watch x-men fight
    In the octogan. All great pro athletes of this day and age have done these drugs, point blank. Either they got caught or they went from 185 to 235 in 2 years adding pure muscle and 5″ in dome size. Loved this write up best I’ve read yet!

    • Joe Schafer

      Thanks for the encouragement; spread the good word my man!

      At the very least, he was stupid for getting caught and blowing his immediate chances of being a UFC star. Though, after investing the time and money, the UFC might be reluctant to cut him.