Daniel Herbertson, MMA Fighting
Alistair Overeem can challenge the findings of his most recent drug test, which showed an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, through a laboratory of his own choosing. Very simply, all he has to do is ask, and according to Nevada state athletic commission executive director Keith Kizer, he hasn't done that yet.
Though the findings are only hours old, every minute counts, as UFC 146 tickets are already on sale, offering the promotion little time to wait.
When an athlete provides a urine specimen, it is divided into two, the "A" and "B" samples. The A-sample is tested while the B-sample is stored under specific protocol for possible future use. This is one instance it would be used, and according to Kizer, if Overeem challenges the result, his B-sample results are likely to take 1-2 weeks.
Kizer told MMA Fighting on Wednesday night that NSAC hasn't yet heard from Overeem or anyone in his camp.
NSAC uses Quest Diagnostics for their drug testing program. Overeem could either elect to have the sample tested there or delivered to a lab of his choosing. Having it tested by Quest, which already has the sample, would be the fastest method, taking possibly 5-7 days. Transporting it to another lab would require extra steps that would increase the time necessary to complete the test and learn the result.
An Associated Press report run by multiple outlets claimed that Overeem could take a second urine test. That is incorrect, according to Kizer, who said that only Overeem's existing B-sample can exonerate him.
If Overeem challenges the findings, his B-sample's T/E ratio would be checked and a carbon isotope ratio test would be performed to determine whether the testosterone in his sample is naturally produced or synthetic. His A-sample showed a T/E ratio higher than 10:1, though an exact number wasn't available. The cutoff used by NSAC is 6:1.
Kizer, who has been NSAC's executive director for six years, and worked with them for years prior to that, said that during his lengthy tenure, he's only seen one B-sample contradict an A-sample. That came in 2007, when boxer Joey Gilbert tested positive for six different banned substances. When the B-sample was tested, one of the banned substances, methamphetamine, was undetected, but the other five were confirmed. He ultimately received a one-year suspension and a $10,000 fine.
The Overeem case is a bit different because he is currently unlicensed in Nevada. That means they can't punish him for the positive test with any kind of penalty, but they can deny him a fighter's license unless the B-sample exonerates him.
"Like with any drug test, if the B-sample comes back negative, then that trumps the A-sample, and he'd be eligible for licensure immediately," he said. "But if it comes back positive, or if he doesn't ask for it to be tested, that's something that can be used for grounds for denial. But that will be up to the commissioners."
Kizer said that the issue will remain in place until whatever point Overeem attempts to gain a license, even if it's years from now.
No retroactive penalty is likely. Though Overeem was given a conditional fighter's license to face Brock Lesnar late last year under terms that he would later provide two random tests, failing one of those random tests months later is not likely to change the fight result, Kizer said.
According to him, Overeem passed three urine tests and one blood test around the Lesnar fight, and his samples from that time have likely been destroyed since.
For now, everything is in a kind of purgatory. Overeem and his team haven't made a move. UFC president Dana White has said he does not know what he will do if Overeem can't fight, and scheduled opponent, champ Junior Dos Santos is in limbo. The timing issue might eventually force White to move on instead of waiting for the results, but the cloud of suspicion that once floated over Overeem's head has turned into a storm, and the UFC No. 1 heavyweight contender hasn't even pulled out his umbrella.
Due to an increase in funding, NSAC recently re-started out-of-competition testing. Kizer told MMA Fighting at the time of the UFC 146 tests that it was the first time they'd tested so many people on one card so far ahead of time. The irony of the result is that the one fighter who should have known it was coming was the one to fail the test.
Regardless of what Overeem's B-sample eventually shows, the random testing is expected to become a trend.
"This is the reason we wanted it and pushed for it," Kizer said. "We’ve always been a commission, even before my time, that has always tried to improve testing, within our powers to do so. We added steroid testing years ago, and we’re doing more and more testing than ever. When I took over, we tested 2-3 guys a card. Now sometimes we’re testing everyone on card. We’re doing in-training drug tests. We're doing more testing than ever."
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