Alistair Overeem will learn his UFC 146 fate at an April 24 meeting of the Nevada state athletic commission. Its executive director Keith Kizer said on Monday morning that the No. 1 UFC heavyweight contender applied for his fighter's license but has not requested that his B-sample be tested after his A-sample showed an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 14:1.
That result has put into doubt Overeem's participation in a May 26 title match with current champ Junior Dos Santos.
Neither the UFC nor Overeem have yet to make any public statement on the situation, though a change to the card would be a disaster for both of them. Kizer told multiple news outlets that Overeem applied for his license through the UFC, which likely means that the promotion will wait and hope that a ruling in his favor preserves what would be one of their highest revenue-generating events of the year.
If he chooses not to contest the A-sample results, Overeem would somehow have to convince NSAC's commissioners that there was a valid reason for his elevated levels. NSAC allows a threshold of 6:1, slightly above the World Anti-Doping Agency level of 4:1. Still, a 14:1 number would be nearly impossible to explain. Even fighters who legally use testosterone replacement therapy must stay within range, and Overeem has never before requested a therapeutic use exemption.
He's yet to tip his hand about a reason for the elevated ratio.
If Overeem was ruled out of the match, there are only a handful of likely replacements. The most obvious pick is Frank Mir, who is already scheduled for the same card, facing Cain Velasquez in the co-main event. Velasquez, who lost the belt to Dos Santos last November, could also get the call, but because his loss was so decisive and he hasn't fought since then, he is expected to be bypassed.
There has been a growing fan movement for longtime veteran Mark Hunt, who holds a pedestrian 8-7 career record, but has won three straight after dropping his octagon debut. The belief is that Hunt, who like Overeem has had strong success in kickboxing, would generate a similar action-heavy matchup that was expected from the Overeem-Dos Santos bout, though a matchup with a barely above .500 fighter would be a hard sell to the masses.
A dark horse contender is Dan Henderson, who has been awaiting the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans light-heavyweight championship match later this month. The 41-year-old Henderson would be undersized in comparison to the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dos Santos, but he has fought at heavyweight before, as recently as last year, when he knocked out Fedor Emelianenko in a Strikeforce card.