The subject of performance-enhancing drugs normally comes up only when referring to Major League Baseball, but in today’s society, it has started popping up even more, including in mixed martial arts.

If you sat down and made a list of fighters who have tested positive for banned substances, you could more than likely hit double digits without much effort. Names like Nate Marquardt, Stephan Bonnar and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino stand out most recently, but the list would most likely be topped by Alistair Overeem.

Certainly, if you compare Overeem’s physique over the years, it’s obvious that something was done to build muscle quickly.

“The Demolition Man” was scheduled to fight Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight belt at UFC 146, but failed his pre-fight drug test due to a 14-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone level, which is twice as much as the allowed ratio of 6-1. Overeem then went to court trying to appeal his suspension, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission upheld the verdict and suspended him for nine months.

Ever since this negative test, people have singled Overeem out as being the face of steroids in MMA. But with so many other fighters testing positive for PEDs, why is Overeem the one who is always criticized?

From now on, Overeem’s drug tests will be watched closely by not only testers, but the entire MMA community. That was the case after his UFC 156 fight against Antonio “Big Foot” Silva, with the results of his test, which he passed, reported across a broad spectrum of sites with the same fervor usually reserved for news of fighters failing their tests. This just isn’t fair to Overeem when he has only failed one time in his career.

Going back to the baseball reference, Overeem has assumed a similar status to that of Alex Rodriguez in baseball. A-Rod is one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, as is Overeem in MMA. Each time Rodriguez is tested for drugs, everyone pays close attention, expecting a failed test. But even when he passes and plays, he is still criticized for playing poorly.

The same is true for Overeem. He was granted a fight with “Bigfoot” at UFC 156, but lost in the third round by knockout. Instead of giving him grief about a drug test, it was his poor performance that made headlines and drew the ire of the fans.

The bottom line here is that Overeem should not be singled out among the rest of the fighters who have tested positive. Obviously, what he has done in the past is wrong, but there are many fighters out there who do it and receive not even half the attention Overeem gets. Certainly, Overeem’s name stands out as one of the top heavyweights in the world, but he doesn’t deserve more grief than any of his peers who have also tested positive in the past.

Photo: Alistair Overeem (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.