UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem met with the Nevada State Athletic Commission early on Tuesday, April 24, to discuss his failed pre-fight drug test late last month.

Overeem was scheduled for a May 26 showdown with champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 for the heavyweight title. After a UFC press conference to announce the upcoming all-heavyweight main card on March 27, all six fighters in attendance were tested for both performance-enhancing drugs and drugs of abuse. Overeem’s testosterone to epitestosterone levels were a staggering 14:1. The average is 1:1 and the NSAC allows for levels up to 6:1.

In the days leading up to today’s hearing, UFC President Dana White announced via his Twitter account that Overeem was out of the title fight and would be replaced by Frank Mir, who was originally scheduled to face Cain Velasquez in a No. 1 contender bout. On Sunday afternoon, White again took to Twitter to announce Velasquez would now be fighting Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. With these announcements, it was clear that Overeem would be removed from the card.

On Monday morning, Overeem’s camp released a statement confirming that he withdrew from the May 26 card, explaining his defense, and why his levels were high. The former Strikeforce and K-1 champion stated, “I aggravated an old rib injury on my left side. My doctor prescribed, and I accepted, an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone. I was completely unaware that testosterone was one of the ingredients in the medication. Although I was unaware, I do realize it is my job to know what I am putting into my body.“

This morning, Overeem and his attorney David Chesnoff, along with Dr. Hector Molina, presented their case to the NSAC. Overeem was the last item on the 36-issue docket at the NSAC hearing, and his portion lasted nearly two hours.

Chesnoff requested a 45-60 day continuance in order to be able to fully present his case. He expressed that he had never read more about testosterone, and that he needed experts to testify that a medical procedure administered by Dr. Molina was the cause for the elevated T:E ratio, and it was not due to performance-enhancing measures.

The commission denied the continuation motion, stating that nothing Overeem’s defense can come up with would alter the hearing today, and that since the doctor and everyone involved was present, they’d proceed with the hearing as scheduled. The commissioner also stated that it would be in the public’s best interest to put closure to this issue.

Overeem stated that he had injured his ribs during a sparring session in preparation for his June 18, 2011 fight with Fabricio Werdum and it led him to seek Dr. Molina’s treatment. The injury was aggravated again in the fight, but that X-rays were negative for a fracture. He then went to an expert who confirmed he had a fracture by rubbing his fingers over his ribs. Overeem then went on to talk about his fight with Lesnar and that while the duration of the fight was short, he was pretty banged up afterwards.

Also brought up before the commission went into deliberation was the fact that prior to the press conference starting, the UFC informed the six fighters in attendance they would be drug tested immediately following the conclusion of the press conference. As soon as the press conference was over, Overeem left the building without being tested. Once the proper officials got in touch with Overeem, he was informed that if he didn’t return immediately it would be treated as a positive test.

Although Overeem did return immediately, there were multiple stories as to why he left. The commission was first told that Overeem left to attend to an interview, followed by his civil attorney, Frank Smith, advising him to leave because Golden Glory was going to be serving him papers, and it would be a public relations disaster had Overeem been served at the press conference, therefore he was told to go directly to his lawyer’s office.

There was testimony from Overeem, as well as Dr. Molina and UFC employee Greg Hendrick, who testified that he didn’t give an advanced warning to Overeem’s camp that there would be a drug test. The testimony from Dr. Molina didn’t do anything to help Overeem’s case, as he contradicted himself, first stating that he did not inform the fighter that there was testosterone in the shot, but later stated he couldn’t remember whether or not he informed Overeem of the contents of the injection. Molina also testified that he included the testosterone because it promotes faster healing, and Overeem wasn’t in a position where he could afford to take time off, and that the shot was insufficient to raise his T:E levels or give him an anabolic advantage.

Once the testimonies concluded, Chesnoff issued his final statements, pleading with the commission to either issue a shorter sentence or a conditional license. Chesnoff argued that there was no reason for his client to take any form of performance-enhancing drugs, and if that was what he was trying to do, why would he have it documented and have the doctor appear at the hearing without a subpoena?

Overeem spoke once more stating, “I gave up the title fight because my position became not credible after media reports. The title is my dream.” He elaborated, saying he wanted to do the testing to prove to his fans that he is a “clean fighter.”

After a deliberation in which the panel of commissioners credited Overeem for showing up in person, presenting one of the best defenses they’ve ever heard and telling him that he is “a true champion that fights like a champion,” the commission issued their ruling.

While the commission wouldn’t agree to issue a conditional license, they did take three months off the standard sentence. The ruling means that Overeem’s license is denied and he can re-apply in nine months, on Dec. 27.

Photo: Alistair Overeem (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.