The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to reinstate the license of heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem after a nine-month ban for elevated testosterone levels. The reinstatement ends Overeem’s exile and clears his path for his UFC return against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on Feb. 2 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay.
“We’ve done everything we could to correct ourselves from the errors that was made,” the Miami-based fighter told the commission. “I’m ready to get my life back on track and get fighting.”
He nodded in agreement when asked by the commission if his suspension was just. Overeem passed recent drug tests in November and December.
The compliant Overeem, 32, seated in front of the commission contrasted with the fighter who appeared before the same panel last April. At the commission hearing last spring, Overeem maintained that his test, which showed a 14-to-1 testosterone-to epitestosterone levels—more than double Nevada’s 6-to-1 limit–was an unwitting mistake. During the April 24 hearing, Overeem testified under oath that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Overeem told the commission last spring that he sought treatment from a nagging rib injury from Texas-based doctor Hector Oscar Molina. The physician administered what the doctor testified was a “tetra mix”—a mixture of Vitamin B-12, anti-inflammatory medication Dexamethosone, the popular pain killer Toradol, and a form of testosterone. On March 23, according to the fighter’s testimony, he injected himself with the “tetra mix” given to him by Molina after reinjuring himself. On March 27, Overeem appeared at a UFC press conference promoting his May 26 scheduled title fight against Brazilian Junior Dos Santos. Following the press conference, Nevada subjected Overeem to the random drug test that led to his suspension.
The 36-11 fighter had previously missed a drug test required by the Nevada Athletic Commission, saying he had flown back to Holland to tend to his ailing mother. As a condition of a previously issued license, Nevada required Overeem to submit to random drug tests through 2012, like the March 27 test that snared him.
At the same April hearing, Molina testified he did not tell Overeem about the presence of testosterone in the drug cocktail. While failing to inform a patient about the contents of medication would generally be grounds for a patient to file a complaint against a physician, the Texas Medical Board website does not show that Overeem has filed any such complaint against Molina.
While Overeem’s positive drug test upended what would have been a super bout with Dos Santos, his reinstatement can once again alter the heavyweight landscape.
The UFC is arguably in a no-lose situation with Overeem. Should he win his Super Bowl weekend match with Silva, he’d most likely be fast-tracked to a title fight against Cain Velasquez. Should he succumb to Silva, the UFC could reschedule the previously-derailed bout with Dos Santos, which would likely be a ratings bonanza. — Melissa Segura