“A technicality” is going to keep Alistair Overeem in the fight with Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146, according to Bas Rutten.
A urine sample Overeem supplied to the Nevada State Athletic Commission last month came back high for testosterone, indicating possible steroid use. That means Overeem has to appear before the body on April 24 to explain why the levels were so high. If he can’t explain satisfactorily, he will be denied a license.
But former UFC champion Rutten, a Dutchman like Overeem, told his Twitter followers that he had been informed - via an unidentified source - that the fight would be going ahead via a loophole.
“I hear we still might c the JDS/Overeem fight? Haha, awesome. Let me get more info,” he wrote. “I hear a ‘technicality’ butlers just wait and c what happens, I let you guys know.”
Rutten - who has a close relationship with the Golden Glory team and has previously heavily criticised Overeem for splitting with them - went on to directly accuse Overeem of “cheating”.
“I know it's freaking insane, cheating and maybe still fighting? But this is America, and crap like that happens, JDS can set it straight though if it happens. Let me get more info first, but that's news I received,” he wrote.
“He did [cheat], we know this now, but in America we heard the story of a burglar who injured himself while breaking in, got money from the victims, it's insane, the law is BS. Let JDS be the judge IF it happens.”
Overeem has not commented on the failed test, which saw his urine reveal a testosterone ratio of 14:1 (the upper limit is 6:1), but at the weekend the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed to Fighters Only that he has pressed ahead with his license application for UFC 146 regardless.
At time of writing he still has not asked for the B-sample, submitted at the same time as the initial sample, to be tested. This initially surprised pundits until the theory emerged that Overeem would be claiming that his testosterone levels were so high because he has been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy.
Overeem might be able to make that argument work because ordinarily fighters would not apply for therapeutic use exemptions - permission to undergo the otherwise prohibited treatment - until two or three weeks before the bout.
As he was subjected to the surprise test on March 27, and the fight with Dos Santos is not set to take place until May 26, Overeem could argue that he was undergoing TRT but was outside the usual window of disclosure.
TRT is supposed to bring levels back to normal ranges though and Overeem will have to explain that - one theory there is that he could say he was tested right after receiving treatment, which would cause a temporary spike.
Of course, if Overeem wanted to make all these claims he would need documentation to support them. He would also need to convince NSAC in person, and that body might be sceptical towards him because of his missing a test in 2011 because of suddenly returning home to Holland.
That flight was bought the day before Overeem was notified he would be undergoing a test and so he was able to escape NSAC censure - had he bought the flight post-notification, he would have been refused a license to fight Lesnar.
But while he was able to satisfy technicalities, NSAC may not have been entirely convinced that he was playing straight and the body has more than likely had Overeem on its mind ever since. The fact that they sprang a surprise test as the UFC 146 promo press conference in March was interpreted in some quarters as being entirely motivated by Overeem.
The UFC has also not made any announcements regarding Overeem being out of the Dos Santos fight, which suggests that the organisation is either confident that Overeem will be acquitted of any wrongdoing when he goes before NSAC, or that it is simply waiting to see which way the dice will fall before it moves to scrap one of the year’s most compelling fights.
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