MMA Insider Alex Donno takes a look at Alistair Overeem’s failed PED Test, and what it means for his title match against Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146. For more MMA news follow Alex @AlexDonno790 and at 790TheTicket.com
The main event for UFC 146 is in serious jeopardy. Alistair Overeem is scheduled to challenge Junior dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight title on May 26th, but a failed PED test has put Overeem’s future in doubt. On March 27th, six heavyweights from UFC 146 were given a random drug test. The other five passed, but Overeem’s test showed his testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio to be at a whopping 14:1. For reference, the average male has an even ratio of 1:1, with a few outliers going as high as about 4:1. In Nevada, the maximum ratio allowed is a generous 6:1.
In short, Overeem really blew it.
Technically, Overeem cannot be punished by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) as he’s not currently licensed there. However, he will need to apply for a license if he expects to fight dos Santos in Nevada next month. Naturally, you can’t fight in Nevada unless you have a license there. In light of his failed test, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which the NSAC grants him a license. His only hope is if by some miracle, his B-sample shows a normal ratio. It seems unlikely that a ratio as high as 14:1 could be a false positive, though. According to NSAC executive director Keith Kizer, Overeem’s camp is yet to request that the B-sample be tested. If the B-sample does indeed come back negative, he’ll be granted a license, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. But again, such an outcome would require a miracle (or a brilliant chain of custody defense a la Ryan Braun).
In all likelihood, this won’t end well for Overeem, and the UFC will be forced to replace him on the UFC 146 fight card. The obvious choice of who to challenge JDS for the title would be Frank Mir. Mir has enough marketability to keep casual fans interested, plus he’s already scheduled to fight against Cain Velasquez at UFC 146, so his training camp is synched up to peak for that date. Mir is currently on a 3-fight win streak, and that’s why he would be the natural choice over Cain Velasquez, who comes off a loss (to the current champion) and an injury. A small contingent of vocal fans is calling for the loveable Mark Hunt to be called up for the title shot, but the odds of Hunt getting it are about as slim as Overeem’s B-sample testing clean. Hunt is a charming underdog who’s riding a surprising 3-fight UFC win streak. His striking is lethal, but his ground game is so lacking that it’s routine for him to get tapped out by rudimentary submission holds. Another fighter who must surely be campaigning for this fight behind the scenes is Dan Henderson. “Hendo” is currently sitting on the sidelines waiting for a title shot at either middleweight or light heavyweight, and would certainly jump at the opportunity for a shot at heavyweight. However, his small stature and complete absence of heavyweight experience in the UFC makes it unlikely he’ll get the call, unless the UFC gets desperate. If he did get the shot, dos Santos would likely brutalize him with his size and power, but Henderson could make things very interesting with his lethal right hand. Hendo’s overhand right is so powerful, that it could put any fighter, at any size, to sleep, at any given moment.
But back to Overeem for a few thoughts. In my opinion, for him to test positive, even on a surprise test, is purely idiotic. Before his win over Brock Lesnar last December, Overeem was explicitly notified by the NSAC that in order to receive a conditional license (for that fight only) he would be required to submit to two RANDOM, unscheduled tests after that fight. The test he just failed was the first of those. So, if the commission clearly warned him that he could be tested randomly at any time, how in the world could he not be prepared for it? Even if we disregard morality and sportsmanship for argument’s sake, how could he not find a way to cheat in a less obvious fashion? I’m not advocating PED’s, but if you’re really determined to cheat and you know you could be tested at any time, how do you not find a way to cover your tracks? He may not have “Anderson Silva money,” but you’d think Overeem would have the funding and resources to consult an endocrinologist and regulate his T/E ratio to stay within the very generous 6:1 ratio allowed by the NSAC. Overeem proudly refers to himself as the most tested athlete in the world, so it’s not like he isn’t acutely aware of the scrutiny his Herculean physique is under. For him to be careless enough to fail a PED test so badly is extremely surprising.
Perhaps what’s even more surprising is the fact this is the first time he’s ever failed a test. Over the past 6 years or so, Overeem has rapidly transformed himself from a moderately sized light heavyweight (205lbs) to one of the most massive heavyweights in the sport. And his mass is all lean muscle. As you can imagine, fans have long been accusing him of PED use, even if he never tested positive until now. Overeem credits a change in diet and increased commitment to training for his stunning transformation. He’s a major proponent for eating horse meat, which can be easily purchased in his native Holland. And before you ask the question I know you’re about to ask….. the answer is no… there’s no way horse meat alone could shoot your T/E ratio up to 14:1. I’ve already looked into it.
Here is a visual timeline of Overeem’s Body Change Throughout the Years.
Elsewhere in the MMA world, the mystery venue for UFC on FX 3 has been announced. For that event, the UFC held a contest on their website (The Harley Davidson Hometown Throwdown) to decide the venue. Fans could submit their zip code in hopes of bringing The Octagon to their town. Surprisingly enough, the winning city was Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The event will be held at Ft. Lauderdale’s Bank Atlantic Center (home of the Florida Panthers) on June 8th.
The event features a flyweight tournament semifinal main event between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall. The two fought to a draw back in March, in a fight that should have employed a sudden death extra round in case of a tie. However, the scores were incorrectly announced, declaring Johnson a split decision winner. It wasn’t until after the event that the mistake was recognized, so instead of an extra round, we get a rematch.
So, why do I describe Ft. Lauderdale as a surprising destination for this event? As a South Florida native myself, I know how apathetic our sports fans can be. To hear that more South Florida fans submitted their zip codes at UFC.com than any other fan base in the country is a pleasant surprise. Now, that might not be totally accurate, of course. It’s possible a few other markets were better represented than SoFla, but the UFC may have eliminated some that were either frequent destinations (and thus offering no variety), or perhaps places that offered difficult logistical challenges in putting on a live UFC event. This will be the UFC’s first trip to Florida since a Spike TV Fight Night card in Tampa back in 2009.
While not finalized, here’s the fight card for UFC on FX 3 in Ft. Lauderdale
• Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
• Scott Jorgensen vs. Eddie Wineland
• Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
• Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist
• Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian
• Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice
• Josh Neer vs. Mike Pyle
• Charlie Brenneman vs. Erick Silva
• Caio Magalhaes vs. Buddy Roberts
• Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez