MMA News

Thursday, 04/05/2012, 01:00 pm

Editorial Spotlight | Overeem's Failed Test Brings PED Problem In MMA To Light

I have been a fan of K-1, MMA, and of course the UFC for a long time. There is nothing a true fight fan likes more than to watch the biggest, the baddest, and the most technically skilled fighters go toe-to-toe. For those of you that train in the martial arts and aspire to be a fighter, you know how difficult it is to break into the biggest mainstream promotion, the UFC. New young fighters, veterans, and even the average gym tough guys want their shot at proving themselves in front of the world. The UFC is home to only the best fighters in the world, a motto that they pride their promotion on. Getting the recognition and building your fight record to make it to the UFC is not an easy task. There are critics around every corner, dissecting your every performance, questioning whether you have beaten worthy adversaries, or whether your performances were the result of an unfair advantage.

There is one man, that with more triumphs than struggles, has broken into the UFC with enormous momentum behind him. Alistair Overeem, the newest high-profile UFC heavyweight, has done what a legend like Fedor Emelianenko has failed to do: make it to the UFC.

After receiving his conditional license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission following a missed drug test incident, the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and Dream Heavyweight Champion, battered former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar with a first round TKO to earn his shot at the title. This was Overeem’s first UFC fight, and his first UFC victory.

The sky was the limit for Overeem, arguably the most menacing striker on the planet. He was to face standup expert and current UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos for the title on May 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The matchup was a fans’ dream, seeing two of the most skilled strikers stand and trade for the heavyweight title. Would Overeem’s K-1 style or Dos Santos’s boxing prevail in what was sure to be an explosive main event on a stacked all heavyweight card. I knew I wanted to buy tickets and book a flight for this war, how could I miss it?

But when I heard Wednesday that Alistair Overeem had failed his random drug test due to a 10:1 ratio of excessive testosterone, I was glad I didn’t make the purchase. As a fight fan, my dreams were shattered. I have been an “Ubereem” fan for years, watching him smash opponents with the left-hook, the huge knees, the brute strength, and the scary arm shaking walk-down he does before he throws a devastating combo. He was just too powerful and too technical for any opponent, and they knew it. I wanted him to win the title. I wanted him to show the doubters that his horse meat diet was to blame for his success, not PEDs.

UFC President Dana White is furious with the situation and the Dos Santos camp has stated it is up to the Nevada State Athletic Commission what happens next. It is doubtful Overeem will be allowed to fight for the title and may even face a possible UFC cut. Even if Alistair Overeem magically solves this situation and can still fight in the UFC, I’m unsure if it would be the same Alistair. This kind of stress, embarrassment, and controversy is going to follow him for the rest of his career. His recent charge with battery was one thing, but PEDs are frowned upon by fighters and fans, or are they?

A who’s who list of popular fighters have tested positive for PEDs: Chael Sonnen, King Mo, and now Alistair Overeem, to name some recents. Sonnen almost defeated a legend, tapping out to Anderson Silva in the final minutes of a middleweight title fight only to test positive for PEDs afterwards. But as you may know, he is slated to have a rematch against Silva at UFC 147. The nature of his PED use has to do with alleged low levels of testosterone and the incident was blamed on testosterone replacement therapy.

If a man has low testosterone levels does that mean he should be given the key of exception to the rules? In Sonnen’s case, he was simply suspended and slapped on the wrist, but his career remained unharmed. The argument is that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which Sonnen and other fighters are administered by their physicians, only brings testosterone levels back to normal ranges. The Nevada State Athletic commission allows a 6:1 level of testosterone, and Overeem had a 10:1, which is above 1:1, which in theory would be normal. I’m no doctor, nor a hormone expert, so I digress.

Do I believe Overeem will eventually blame his failed drug test on testosterone replacement therapy? Eh, maybe, maybe not. I am not saying TRT is considered an “excuse” by no means either, but you might be hearing that term thrown around more than usual in the future.

Dana White and UFC are for sure going to be doing a company crackdown on drug testing after this incident. Too many high profile fighters have been failing drug tests, whether it be for marijuana or testosterone. My question for the future of the company is: are you going to continue to allow fighters to participate in testosterone replacement therapy? It would only sound logical that if you continue to allow TRT, fighters will continue to either miss drug tests or fail them all together. That kind of unreliability is detrimental to the sport, not to mention bothersome for the fans. We’re here to watch fights. I long for the day I can stop being glued to Twitter, hoping a fighter isn’t pulled from the card because of a failed drug test.

The UFC, state commissions, and fans alike either need to accept the fact that fighters are going to be administered TRT and may or may not pass their random drug tests, or they need to have a zero tolerance policy. The UFC shouldn’t give select fighters a chance after a failed drug test because of a mishap with TRT because they almost beat a legend. Just like in the education system, a failing grade is a failing grade, regardless if I “forgot” to use my calculator.

Overeem now is bothered by the same critics’ question that Chael Sonnen is bothered by: would they be the same fighter without PEDs or TRT?

I can’t answer all these questions for the fans, for the UFC, or for the commissions. But I can bring these questions to light for the industry to think about in a time where “PEDs” and “TRT” are more common words than “title shot”.

I wish the best for Overeem and his team. He has worked very hard to make it to the UFC and I would hate to see an incident such as this ruin his future and potential shot at becoming UFC heavyweight champion. There is much work to be done to make the fight game a fair, reliable, and drama free industry. We can only attempt to start now.

– By Edward Fernandez

Editors Note: Welcome Edward Fernandez to the Penn Nation people. He is a new writer here at BJPENN.COM so remember the name and show him some love!


40 Responses to “Editorial Spotlight | Overeem's Failed Test Brings PED Problem In MMA To Light”

  1. jbeamazing says:

    It was so shocking that overoid tested positive even tho everybody has been saying he was a user for the last 4 years but shocking lol the new fans are probably shocked for real tho and on this site there is a big list of brand new fans that think they know it all lol

  2. Mani says:

    Considering Overeem came in at 14-1 over and that Sonnen came in at 16-1 over after he actually faught, and comparing the media and Dana’s reactions afterwards makes me believe that this industry doesn’t have a solid, fair way of dealing with TRT abuse. Dana can’t let chael get away with what he did and publicly insult Overeem the way he did, its a miss-calculation to say the least. Overeem for sure isn’t going to be recieved as an honest fighter after this point, because of the random nature of his test. So things change once more, all i know is that 146 without Overeem is an almost pointless event. TRT users should be publicly named to so we can’t act all suprised when they abuse the substance.

  3. mrmma says:

    Over 10:1 ratio is ridiculous. I’m not sure how the UFC will handle a title fight not to mention a heavyweight title fight being removed from the card. Overeem is still BEAST, prob cause his use of da roids but c’mon every fighter uses them with the exception of a few. Commissions ALLOW over 1:1 ratio wtf do they expect

  4. The natural says:

    Some bullshit article bout how steroids are ok.
    Yea wright they should randomly test every guy in UFC the reason y I don’t compete at higher levels in mma cause the guys up there are all CHEATERS if u ever test postive for steroids u shld never be allowed to compete again it’s cheating plane and simple even wen ur off ur cycle ur still stinger because of a Lil thing called muscle memory

  5. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    I understand the problems issues some people have with TRT but, I don’t have a problem with the use of TRT if a fighter has a legit reason. That includes past use of PEDS and age depletion of testosterone. If the UFC wants to keep it legit they should screen or test these fighters who need it or say they need it through their doctors in their UFC health plan. Keep the doctors honest and accountable.

    Also test fighters from foreign promotions more often like they did with Overeem to keep the fighters honest and clean.

  6. Doug Diamond says:

    I have a difficult time believing that any athlete could take the literal beatings that these guys do without something to help their healing processes. I never fought more than 6 times with full contact but have trained for years and suffered severe joint and nerve pain. Testosterone is really good for building up the body’s ability to mend and it is not illegal to get from your doctor.
    (Steroids are a little different and scary. At my favorite sushi joint I saw a hugely muscled dude with “the cutest tities.” No joke! Disgusting and freaky. Completely messes with your body chemistry and causes guys to turn bitch.)
    The article says they allow for a 6:1 ratio which tells me that Zuffa is well aware of what the fighters need to do to maintain a long career. Overeem is lazy or just not fully understanding that Mr. White needs to be able to market him as a naturally gifted fighter, and not a steroid injecting lab created cheater. It is a simple question of degrees. Mr. Overeem will have to maintain a lower level of the serum in his system and that is all. Lower the dose, watch your diet and you can have a great career like many others in MMA and every other professional sport.
    Do an internet search for “longevity physician.” For about $200 a month plus script costs you too can have no bodyfat, more muscle and no need for viagra.

  7. drew says:

    i mean it was pretty obvious, cartoon muscle=fake muscle…people aren’t built to look like the reem. im not saying chael isnt for real, butttttttttttt assuming he comes in straight…he will probably get owned by silva…an injured silva and a somewhat juiced up chael made chael look good…however, beating stann and bisping is impressive i think chael is for real…
    I am a fan of trt there is nothing wrong with it in theory, but those who use it are those who probably used roids in the past soooo ya trt just being abused….BUT I WILL PUT MY WHOLE LIFE SAVINGS on the fact that hendo never used roids so with him using it i believe it is for real

  8. repairman jack says:

    c’mon guys REEM is innocent it was the horse he eat that took the PED’s

  9. Heath says:

    Another cheater brought out in the open… Send him packing ..
    Dana and the boys have to come up with a policy and stick to it for everyone..

  10. Hjortur Halldorsson says:

    I don’t no about you guys but I lough a lot when I read this sentence: “I wanted him to show the doubters that his horse meat diet was to blame for his success, not PEDs.”

    OK it was obvious that Overeem had been using roids but I though he would be smart enough to stay away once he got into the UFC, but I was disappointingly wrong. This UFC 146 card is ruined. No JDS vs Overeem – no Mir vs Cain – probably no Nelson vs Bigfoot. Overeem single-handedly ruined a fantastic card. But the question I would like answers to are how many UFC fighters have been on either roids or other illegal performance enhancers? I think a very high percentage of them have been using some illegal substances to improve their performance in training so they can perform better in the Octagon. We the fans get a better show instead and that’s what we want right? To get a fantastic show? (If I where a MMA fighter training drug free and trying to make it into the UFC, I would definitely look at it differently).

    So as a fan of the UFC I want to see this card even though Overeem got caught using. If you take Mir, didn’t he gain a lot of muscle for the Brock fight? Mir was already big so my guess is that he didn’t just eat horse meat. How on earth can a guy like Roy compete in the cage with elite fighters? A guy with that much body fat should be winded and burned through his lounges after 1 round (maybe even less). He very often goes the distance. Cain with his incredible stamina. JDS has a lot of muscle mass and so on and so on. What the hell do we now what all these guys have been doing to get this far?

    Do any of you know if they drug test guys that are off injured like GSP and Evans was away for a year and so on?

    I’m not saying that all the fighters I mentioned above have taken illegal performance enhancers, because I have no idea about that. I’m just saying it’s possible. Although I still really want to watch the card I realize that would be ridiculous, because then the UFC are basically saying that roids are not illegal in this sport when huge ratings are at risk.

    • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

      That’s exactly what I was saying yesterday. He destroyed the whole card. Dana is probably making a million phone calls right now to find Cain a replacement opponent. Either that or JDS is being removed from the card completely. I say take JDS off the card, move Cain vs Mir in the main event and find another HW matchup to put on the card.

      As for Mir and the others.. Well they didn’t get caught in a random test so they are in the clear. That’s assuming they didn’t know about the random test… You know they had it out for Overeem. Strangely Bigfoot didn’t get busted even though I’ve read he has been caught taking PEDS in the past. Does this mean he is clean now?

      I bet if they had a random test for Shane Carwin 2 yrs ago he would have gotten so busted. That guy was jacked, especially since MMA fighting was a 2nd job for him.

      • Hjortur Halldorsson says:

        That’s actually a very good idea. Cain vs Mir is a very interesting fight and a good main event considering the circumstances.

      • Hjortur Halldorsson says:

        Yeah I definitely agree with you Carwin was on the juice. A lot of fighters are obvious roids users like Sherk, Baroni and the aforementioned Carwin. But I think everybody should be randomly tested not just fighters on a card where there is an obvious roids user on the card. Because there’re fighters that are using but don’t necessarily have the physical demeanor of a steroid user.

  11. MrH says:

    This is so disappointing dammit
    Fucking guys don’t know they’ll be tested? Wtf
    I don’t get this all the work and stuff to use drugs and get fired in a second

  12. Danny says:


  13. Gary Butch says:

    Is it not somewhat obvious that this girth comes from something more than dumbbells? Just saying… Never substitute brawn for brains! BTW this dude is a monster!

  14. Cagin says:

    everyone in ufc is on PEDs. Its just a matter of who gets caught. I dont see why so many of you seem surprised when another one gets busted. It will continue to happen forever. Unless they get smarter at cheating without getting caught. Have you ever tried to go full steam 100% in a fight for 25 minutes straight?
    All these guys are juicing. They have very expensive pharmacists designing their juice plans to not get caught. Just some of them dont work out too well.

  15. LoneXionc says:

    There are three solutions:

    1) A zero-tolerance policy – Ban all PEDs. If someone is caught using them, ban them from the sport.

    2) A medical excuse policy – Doctor’s notice must be given well in advance to an athletic commission. Violators face suspension or ban depending on infraction. (This is the current system, and it sucks.)

    3) Allow all PEDs. If you don’t use them, fine. If you do, whatever. They don’t cause long-lasting harm to the user or others.

    The “moral integrity” of sports is a ridiculous notion considering the athletes who’ve competed and excelled while under the influence of drugs. From cocaine to LSD to marijuana to PEDs, drug use was rampant in the 70s and 80s in professional sports. These stupid controversies do more harm than good for the sport, and the simplest solutions are 1 and 3.

  16. John says:

    10:1 is not that bad. Especially since he would have tailored it down by fight week, like every other fighter that uses that. A lot of fighters have talked about doing that, since they normally don’t test until fight week. So Dana is all pissed and acts like overreem is such a dumbass for doing it, yet half of his roster is doing the exact same thing. You think Gsp isn’t using a “therapy” to help his recovery, knowing he won’t get tested until November? Pulleeze. I think they set Alistair up on this one. It’s a shame, really.

  17. A. Chung says:

    To use Chael as an excuse for Overeem’s PED use is stupid. First of all, TRT is a scam that fighters are use to use PED. Chael should not be fighting Silvia, I would not drop a dime to see him fight! He is a proven cheat and now Overeem is also a proven cheat!

  18. Nick says:

    The way I see it, as long as your levels are in the allowed ranges you should be allowed to fight. It’s that simple.

  19. James says:

    They should have a natural league and a ped league.

  20. ProteinPimp says:

    Ha! Seriously???? Shocking???? Take one look at his bloated face and notice the size difference over the years. I made a comment a month ago on this board stating he was going to get busted. Sure enough! Dude, this is fighting. Cheating could kill someone. Bottom line! Plus, you add the roid rage- him beating some dude up at a night club or some shit? Easy to see but he isnt the only one.

  21. Mike says:

    No Drugs. No TRT. Save MMA as a sport. You wanna juice out? go for it, but not if you are gonna go pro.

  22. B. Bentley says:

    Fedor didn’t “Fail” to make it to the UFC. He refused to join the UFC because they could never agree on contract terms. lol.

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