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Everyone's a Suspect, but Alistair Overeem Tested Clean

When it comes to performance-enhancing drugs in sports, everyone is a suspect. We've long since passed the time when there was a presumption of innocence in sports: If you do something extraordinary -- if you get bigger, stronger and faster -- plenty of people are going to suspect you of cheating.

But some athletes are suspected more than others, and Alistair Overeem was suspected more than anyone else in mixed martial arts. He got bigger, stronger and better while fighting in Japan (where they don't test fighters for drugs), and by the time he returned to fight in the United States again this month, it was taken as a given in some MMA circles that he was cheating.

Now, however, Overeem has taken a drug test. And it came back clean.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told Loretta Hunt of Sherdog that Overeem has tested negative for anabolic steroids and drugs of abuse. Strikeforce independently tested Overeem and other fighters, separate from the tests imposed by the Missouri Office of Athletics. Missouri hasn't released results of its own tests, and it's not clear whether Overeem was subjected to a second test by the commission.

But it is clear that Overeem can now point to Coker's exoneration as a strong statement in his defense.

So does that mean Overeem never should have been subject to those cheating allegations in the first place? I don't know.

Overeem certainly does fail the eyeball test -- he's big and muscular, and he looks like what we all suspect drug cheats look like -- but then again the eyeball test isn't particularly helpful. Floyd Landis doesn't "look like" a drug cheat, but he was one. And there are hundreds of NFL players who "look like" drug cheats -- men who are bigger and stronger than Overeem -- but have managed to pass all of the NFL's drug tests, which are more stringent than those of American MMA promotions and athletic commissions.

Overeem can't do anything to prove he's clean, because you can't prove a negative. All he can do is take the drug tests he's asked to take. He did that this month. That doesn't mean he's not a suspect, because everyone is a suspect. But Overeem tested clean.

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