UFC No. 1 heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem tested for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone level during a random drug screening taken on March 27, putting into doubt a scheduled May 26 title fight against champ Junior dos Santos.
Nevada state athletic commission executive director Keith Kizer released a statement to the media saying that of the six heavyweight stars tested, only Overeem failed. That's particularly ironic because Overeem had been put on notice that he would be randomly tested twice in a six-month span stemming from a previous testing issue.
To obtain a fighter's license, Overeem would have to appear before the commission and explain the elevated reading. According to Kizer, his T:E ratio was above 10:1, far above the cutoff for acceptability, which is 6:1. If he appeals, the NSAC is likely to order a carbon isotope ratio test to determine whether the testosterone was naturally produced or sythentic.
Not surprisingly, UFC president Dana White was incensed by the failed test, which is likely to cost the company one of its highest-generating main events of the summer. White, who addressed the matter with Canadian media during a previously scheduled conference call, said he was "beyond pissed" with the result.
"How f------ stupid do you have to be?" he said. "Seriously dumb. Anybody who's using [performance-enhancing drugs] right now is an absolute f------ moron. It's beyond - what's the word I'm looking for ... It's beyond belief. It's beyond comprehension. You're an absolute moron, a brain-dead absolute f------ dummy. It goes beyond a guy having any common sense whatsoever."
Overeem had been the subject of PED rumors for some time, ever since he went from a wiry 205-pounder to a muscled 260-pounder within a few years. But prior to now, he had never failed a test and had always suggested he was clean, even saying he would be willing to take any kind of test at any time.
The NSAC took him up on his offer, even though he must have had some idea that a test was coming. Last November, a different kind of testing issue nearly derailed a fight against Brock Lesnar. The issue stemmed from a situation where Kizer ordered a random test, but Overeem did not deliver a sample for nearly three weeks. Overeem blamed the problem on distance and a misunderstanding, saying he had been living in Holland and couldn't find a proper lab to test him, and when he did, they performed the wrong type of test.
NSAC threatened to pull his license but eventually offered him a conditional license as long as he passed an immediate drug test and agreed to two random screenings in the next six months. He did so and went on to pass the test, and then beat Lesnar to become No. 1 contender and set up the title match with dos Santos. The March test would have counted as his first random draw.
With a hole at the top of the card, the UFC is likely to replace him with either Frank Mir or Cain Velasquez.
Mir's camp immediately campaigned for the spot, releasing a statement saying that he would like to step in and face dos Santos.
"I would be excited if given the opportunity to compete for the UFC's heavyweight title at UFC 146 if the reports released earlier today regarding Alistair Overeem failing his 'A' sample drug test are true," Mir said in the statement. "I have been fortunate to be able to fight in the UFC for more than a decade, and it is a dream of mine to become the first three-time heavyweight champion in the UFC. Being able to fight Junior Dos Santos would put me one step closer to that dream."
White said he had no idea how he would fill the hole.
UFC 146 was supposed to feature the first all-heavyweight card in promotional history. It's likely to stay that way, but the probable loss of Overeem will take some of the luster off one of the promotion's biggest annual events during Memorial Day weekend.