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Dana White Explains Decision to Remove Alistair Overeem From UFC 146

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Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

ATLANTA -- UFC president Dana White cited scheduling pressure and a lack of confidence in Alistair Overeem's ability to gain licensure from the Nevada state athletic commission in an upcoming hearing as the main causes for pulling the Dutch heavyweight from a proposed UFC 146 championship fight pairing with Junior dos Santos.

White said he had not spoken to Overeem or anyone from his team before making the decision to replace him with Frank Mir.

"Anybody who knows anything about the pay-per-view business knows we're way past the deadline," he said. "We've got to run with it, and I wasn't feeling too optimistic."

White said the UFC 146 lineup will be shuffled with "a bunch of guys" being switched around.

Obviously, right now, Cain Velasquez is opponent-less after Mir was removed from his matchup. Victorious UFC 145 heavyweight Travis Browne threw his name into the hat, saying "I'm ready," when asked if he would take a bout on short notice.

As far as Overeem goes, he'll still face NSAC on Tuesday and try to explain why he had a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 14:1 during a recent test, far above the allowed 6:1 limit.

White said he had no new information about Overeem's defense, but with mounting pressure to finalize a fight, as well as a personal feeling that Overeem's licensing request would be denied, the decision was made to scrap the fight.

Should he fail to gain a license, Overeem could face a tenuous future in the UFC, as White said there was "no way in hell" the UFC would schedule him in another state or country for whatever period of time NSAC asks him to wait before re-applying. He also wouldn't rule out cutting the former Strikeforce champ.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "I don't know."

White said Mir and Fabricio Werdum were his top two choices to replace him, and since Mir was already training to fight on the same night, he was the easy pick. But that didn't make taking the blow of losing a highly anticipated main event any easier for him.

"I'm still angry," he said. "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 said, 'they can test me all they want. I'm the most tested athlete in all of sports.'"

White let his words trail off, but his disappointment was obvious. Later, he said the UFC would consider working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to institute some sort of random drug testing program, the first time he has opened the door a crack to the possibility.