The career of UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem has been put on hold. On Tuesday, the Nevada state athletic commission denied his request for licensure, and ruled that he would be ineligible to reapply before December 27, nine months from the date of his failed random test.
Even prior to the hearing, UFC president Dana White said Overeem would not be offered fights elsewhere in an attempt to circumvent that ruling. That effectively means that his MMA career is suspended until he is re-licensed.
In a meeting held at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Overeem denied intentionally taking any performance-enhancing substance. Instead, he claimed he had been given an anti-inflammatory shot that unknowingly contained testosterone as one of his four ingredients.
The doctor who administered the first of two shots, Dr. Hector Oscar Molina of Texas, also appeared at the hearing and confirmed that he had prescribed the shot for Overeem, though under oath, he couldn't recall whether he had informed Overeem that testosterone was included. Overeem also said that he hadn't informed Molina that he was facing random drug testing as part of a conditional license he'd received from NSAC last December.
"What surprises me very much is the fact, Mr. Overeem, that when we had you here the last time, you really impressed me as someone who is very intelligent," said commissioner Pat Lundvall. "That you wouldn't have informed Mr. Molina that you had these conditions upon you that you were going to be tested and you had to know what was being injected into your body."
Overeem accepted the ruling, saying he would not fight anywhere during the nine-month period.
"Believe me when I tell you that that title fight is my dream, my ultimate goal," he said. "I have three other belts, Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1. This was going to be the crown of my career, which I'm giving up to take a couple steps back to get back on the horse, do the testing and prove myself, that I’m a clean fighter. And when that is established, get back on the horse and continue."
Earlier in the hearing, Overeem's attorney David Chesnoff had asked for a 45-60 day postponement to collect more information, but the commission members unanimously voted against it.
Overeem said he met Dr. Molina in Texas through former pro fighter Tre Telligman, and that he visited him to address several injuries, including pain in his rib. Molina defended his treatment, noting he has treated other pro athletes in the past, while saying it was a cocktail he had given to other patients.
"It's insufficient to raise it to give an anabolic advantage that testosterone's normally used for, but it's’ enough to help him heal faster," Molina said.
Overeem's March urine test came back with an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 14:1. That number is considerably higher than NSAC's cutoff of 6:1.
He was removed from a UFC 146 title match with Junior Dos Santos last Friday, with UFC president Dana White citing scheduling pressure and a lack of confidence in Overeem's explanation.
The hearing opened up with a surprise revelation, as NSAC executive director Keith Kizer said Overeem had initially left the MGM Grand on March 27 after being told he would be subject to a random test, but only later returned after prodding. Overeem said he had never been personally informed, something confirmed by a UFC official at the hearing.
Overeem originally broke his silence on the topic on Monday, releasing a statement which placed the blame on a prescription anti-inflammation medicine that included testosterone, though he said at the time he received it, he was "completely unaware" that it was an ingredient.
Last December, Overeem faced a separate NSAC hearing that could have derailed his No. 1 contenders' match with Brock Lesnar. That issue stemmed from the fact that Overeem left the country on Nov. 17, the same day he was asked to take a drug test, in order to return to Holland. In that hearing, Overeem said that the trip home was necessary to care for his ailing mother, who suffered from a recurrence of cancer. Overeem didn't to a urine test until Dec. 7. The commission ultimately gave him the benefit of the doubt, issuing him a conditional license while requiring him to undergo mandated tests as well as two random, future tests.
He went on to defeat Lesnar via TKO.
The March test he failed due to a raised T/E count was considered his first random test. He was screened along with five other fighters on the UFC 146 card, but was the only one who did not pass.
Overeem is 36-11 with 1 no contest in his career, and has previously won championships in Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1.