One of the more intriguing questions that followed the news that Alistair Overeem had tested positive for elevated testosterone was if the result of his UFC 141 bout with Brock Lesnar would be overturned. Overeem had been granted a conditional license for that bout after a list of issues with a random drug test requested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on November 17, 2011. One of the conditions of the license was that Overeem would be randomly tested two times within six months of the fight.
Now, having failed a random test, it looks like Overeem will not lose his victory over Lesnar in the record books. Via MMA Fighting:
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 test and one blood test around the Lesnar fight, and his samples from that time have likely been destroyed since.
This leads to the obvious question: What was the point of the conditional license?
Obviously, Overeem is going to have trouble getting a license for UFC 146 in light of these developments, so that’s an obvious form of punishment for the failed test. But, failing the test would have resulted in the same situation without having previously being given a conditional license.
The “three urine tests and one blood test around the Lesnar fight” are misleading when you’re thinking about the aforementioned “two random tests.” The blood test was the one submitted before the Lesnar fight that led to the issues with the license to begin with. Administered by his personal doctor (apparently standard Dutch procedure) instead of at a lab there was no proof beyond a personal doctor’s word on who the blood test came from.
That blood test was taken 6 days after the request by the NSAC for a urine sample. Not to mention, that test was prior to the granting of the conditional license, so should not factor in here.
The first urine test of the three mentioned would be the one taken in the days after the December 12 NSAC granting of the conditional license. He was flown to an accredited lab in the UK for that test. This test was taken almost a month after the initial request for a urine test and was, again, before the fight, not one of the post fight random tests he had to pass as part of the licensing process.
Urine test number two would have been the one Overeem took upon landing in Las Vegas on Monday December 26, the Monday of the Lesnar fight. This was even further out from the initial request from the NSAC for the first test and, should Overeem have been doing something (which we don’t know he was), would have been within the range of the attempt to cycle his numbers down to a point where he could pass the test. And, again, this was before the fight, not a random test in the 6 months following the event.
Urine test number three would have been the standard post-fight urine test. Again, not a random post-fight test.
So, while the idea of passing one blood and three urine tests is nice in theory, it doesn’t really hold up when you’re examining the conditions upon which the license was granted.
This was the first time following the UFC 141 bout that Overeem received a “random test” and he failed it and failed it hard. To find out that there is no retroactive punishment renders the entire idea of a conditional license moot. He’s not going to lose the win, he isn’t going to be fined, he’s just going to have trouble (assuming no change when/if the B-sample is tested) getting a new license.
How is that any different from what would have happened had he tested positive for greater than a 10:1 ratio anyway? Had Roy Nelson or Antonio Silva or Frank Mir tested that high, they probably wouldn’t be licensed for UFC 146 either. So, the punishment for failing your first random test on a conditional license that said you had to pass two random tests is…the same as the punishment for fighters who were NOT on the same sort of conditional license?
The conditions applied to his license for the Brock Lesnar fight. By failing those conditions, he violated the terms of that license and thus the license would not be valid and the fight should be turned into a no contest. If not, it’s time to stop with the charade of granting these conditional licenses simply to pretend that the commission is showing real strength in these situations.
About the author