Heavyweight apologizes to NSAC, dos Santos, fans, UFC
Alistair Overeem says medication prescribed by his doctor for an injury was the cause of his elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels from a recent drug test – the result of which ultimately has the No. 1 contender to the UFC's heavyweight crown now on the sidelines with his title shot next month instead going to Frank Mir.
Overeem, through his Authentic Sports Management team, on Monday released a statement to HeavyMMA and other media outlets with his explanation for a high T/E ratio a month ago at a random test in Las Vegas.
Overeem, in the statement, said an old rib injury began to bother him in March and his doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory that contained, unbeknownst to him, testosterone. Overeem was tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on March 27 while in Las Vegas for a press conference announcing the May 26 UFC 146 card at the MGM Grand. Five other heavyweights on the main card also were tested that day, including heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, who was expected to meet Overeem in the main event.
Earlier this month, it was announced by the NSAC that Overeem's T/E ratio was in excess of 10:1 for testosterone-to-epitestosterone, and it was later reported the level was 14:1. The NSAC's limit is 6:1, and many other state commissions have a maximum of 4:1, which is the standard for the Olympic Games. The average male has a level of 1:1.
Overeem was scheduled to appear before the NSAC on Tuesday to explain the high levels in his test, and perhaps to seek a license for the fight against dos Santos. But late Friday night, UFC president Dana White announced that Overeem was officially pulled from the fight with dos Santos and that Mir was stepping in his place to fight for the title.
It was initially believed that the UFC was waiting to hear the results of Tuesday's NSAC hearing before making a decision. But on Saturday after the UFC 145 post-fight press conference in Atlanta, White told a small group of reporters that he was left with no choice because of the timing of the May 26 show and pulling Overeem out will result in changes for the whole main card. White also said he hasn't talked to Overeem, though he still believes working with the fighter in the future is possible, regardless of the result of Tuesday's hearing.
"All the guys that were originally going to fight on that card will still fight – except for Overeem," White said. "We'll see what happens Tuesday. I'm not feeling too optimistic about Tuesday. Anybody who knows anything about the pay-per-view business – we're already past the deadline (for promotion and marketing). We've got to run with it. There's a bunch of guys that are being switched around. It's getting closer and let's just say I'm not feeling optimistic about it. I'm still angry (and) I'm not angry with the Commission. The commission's doing their job – that's what they do. I sat down in a room with Alistair and he told me, 'They can test me anytime they want. I'm the most tested athlete in all of sports.' I do business with Tito. I think I can do business with Alistair. We'll see what happens. I don't know. This really isn't my deal. I have not (talked to Overeem) and I will not."
Overeem ran into some roadblocks with the NSAC in December during the license application process for his UFC 141 fight against Brock Lesnar, but ultimately was given a conditional license that required him, among other tests, to be tested twice randomly after the December fight. One of those tests was in March in Las Vegas.
Overeem beat Lesnar with a first-round TKO at UFC 141 to earn his title shot against dos Santos. Lesnar announced his retirement after the fight.
Mir was scheduled to meet fellow former champion Cain Velasquez in the co-main event of UFC 146 to determine the No. 1 contender for the dos Santos-Overeem winner. Now Mir moves into a title shot, and Velasquez will fight Antonio Silva in the co-main event, White said Sunday. It is not known if the Velasquez-Silva fight is a top contenders fight. Silva was supposed to fight Roy Nelson on the card; Nelson now awaits a new opponent.
The full text of Overeem's statement is below:
"To my friends and fans,
I am deeply saddened to announce that on Friday, April 20, I respectfully withdrew from the May 26 event so that I can request a continuance until my situation with the Nevada State Athletic Commission is resolved.
I cannot express how sorry I am to the Commission, Junior dos Santos, the fans, the owners and employees of the UFC, my friends and family and anyone else who this has affected.
I absolutely do not believe in, nor do I use performance-enhancing drugs. I am a clean fighter and I will do whatever it takes to prove this to everyone.
Prior to the UFC 146 press conference in March, 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.
I respect the Nevada Commissioners and Executive Director Keith Kizer and what they are doing to keep the sport of mixed martial arts regulated and safe for athletes. I look forward to working with them in the days and weeks ahead.
Friends and fans, I ask for your patience as I work through this matter. Please support me. I promise to return to the Octagon soon."