The chances of Alistair Overeem fighting at UFC 146 seem to be dwindling by the minute as the former K-1 Grand Prix champion deals with a positive drug test from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
On Wednesday, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer released results from testing done after the UFC 146 kickoff press conference in Las Vegas. Overeem was the lone fighter that tested positive.
Overeem's results came back with an elevated level of testosterone at a more than 10 to 1 ratio (testosterone vs. epitestosterone). Nevada allows up to a 6 to 1 ratio for testosterone, which has been a point of debate, which Kizer explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio on Thursday.
“In this situation, we did get a positive test of elevated T/E ratio for Mr. Overeem. I notified the commission, I notified the promoter, and had them notify Mr. Overeem, and that's where we stand,” Kizer told MMAWeekly Radio.
“The ratio came back greater than 10 to 1. We use the old WADA (World Anti-Doping Agencey) cut off, which is 6 to 1, some places use 4 to 1, there's still a bit of debate on that. Because there are some athletes that are naturally 5 to 1, I for one would not want to brand them cheaters and tout false positives, but I guess other people would. But we use the 6 to 1 ratio there, and this was greater than 10 to 1.”
On Thursday morning, Kizer received the final results back from Overeem's test and they totaled out at a 14 to 1 ratio for his testosterone levels.
Now the next move for Overeem will land in one of a couple places. He can either contest the testing and have his “B” sample tested or opt to appear in front of the commission for a licensing hearing.
As of today, Overeem's camp has not requested his “B” sample be tested.
“He's got some time,” Kizer said about how long Overeem has to request a second test be done. “As I understand it, if an ‘A' sample comes back positive, the lab keeps that for quite a long time. If it comes back negative, they basically toss it after a couple of weeks assuming there is no further request for the ‘B' sample. So they'd have the ‘B' sample for quite a while, but I would assume if he's going to request a ‘B' sample testing, he should do it sometime this month.”
The “B” sample was taken at the same time as the “A” sample following the UFC 146 press conference in late March.
“We've had that in about 10 or so cases where athletes have asked for that,” Kizer said about a potential “B” sample test. “They can either ask for the original lab, in this case Quest Diagnostics, to run the ‘B' sample test, or they can ask for it to be transported to some other accredited lab. It can be any other lab in the country as long as they have proper accreditation, and proper legitimacy, and in that case there would be a slight delay because there would have to be lab-to-lab communications, to find out how the second lab wants the sample transported, make sure the chain of custody is kept intact, security, safety, things like that. It then gets to that lab, they run the tests, and then they'd report both to us and the athlete.”
If Overeem makes the request and allows Quest Diagnostics to run the tests, the results would come back in approximately a week. If he requests the tests run at another lab, Kizer said he would expect a slight delay, but would hope for results in about two weeks.
Here's where Overeem's problems then mount. In the history of the Nevada State Athletic Commission's drug testing, no ‘B' sample has ever fully exonerated a fighter for a positive ‘A' sample.
“They always come back positive, except for one case we had a fighter, I think he was positive for six different, the lab found six specific prohibitive substances in his sample, the ‘B' sample was tested and it did come back negative for one of those drugs, which myself and the attorney generals, we immediately dropped that from the complaint, dropped that one prohibitive substance,” Kizer explained.
“We weren't even asked to do so, we did it on our own accord, the tie goes to the runner as I said back then, and I still say, but we still proceed with the others and he ended up getting a 12-month suspension and a big fine. Not with us (has a fighter's test ever come back at a legal level). It may have happened with other drug testing groups, WADA or USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) may have had it, or other groups, but not with us.”
So unless something unprecedented happens and a second sample comes back negative, Overeem's only choice is to appear before the commission for a licensing hearing.
“There would be no disciplinary punishment, but it would be grounds of denial of a license, and if the commission denies him a license, he'd be barred for at least a year for reapplying,” Kizer said.
“Unless the ‘B' sample is tested and comes back negative, he would need to appear before the commission and the commission would make its decision and they could use the failed drug test as grounds for denial of license.”
A hearing would be held for Overeem with the commission where he would be held accountable for the positive drug test, and then they would make their final ruling regarding his application.
“It would be a commission hearing and then it would be no different than any other similar situation where a fighter had some issues and had to appear before the commission. We had it with Mr. Overeem back in December,” said Kizer.
As of now, the situation would appear to be pretty bleak for Overeem to end up appearing on the UFC 146 fight card, but as of right now no decision has been made by the promotion regarding his status in the main event fight against UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.
MMAWeekly.com will continue to follow this story as it develops.