The Reem is back! And the UFC 156 co-main event is saved!
After a Tuesday hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, UFC Heavyweight Alistair Overeem has finally been cleared and licensed to fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the co-main event of UFC 156 on February 2nd.
Overeem, who was stripped of his fighting license after failing a drug test for elevated testosterone levels back in May of 2012 prior to his then scheduled title fight against Junior Dos Santos, has been caught in limbo in the heavyweight division ever since.
But Overeem has been very persistent and cooperative with the commission in order to regain his license as soon as possible. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer explained that Overeem was required to send in five voluntary testing results between June and November and was also subjected to NSAC-administered blood and urine testing on November 16th and December 21st.
All of those samples came back negative and after hearing Overeem’s testimony the NSAC voted unanimously to approve his application and allow him to fight Silva next month.
After jumping through the many hoops the NSAC has put in front of him it looks like Overeem is finally set to return. He explained that he has learned from his mistakes and is 100% ready to return to fighting.
“I think we’ve done everything we could to correct ourselves from the errors that were made, and I’m just ready to get my life back on track,” Overeem told the commission. “I’m ready to get back to fighting.”
Alistair Overeem has been one of the most suspected users of PEDs in MMA for many years now even though he has always labeled himself a “clean fighter”. Well, that shipped sailed for many skeptics and fans when he was suspended by the NSAC in 2011 when a UFC 146 pre-fight drug test came back with a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, which is more than twice the 6-to-1 ratio allowed by the commission.
Although Overeem was clearly caught red handed in the pre-UFC 146 fiasco he maintained his innocence throughout his NSAC hearings and blamed a prescribed injection as being responsible for his heightened ratios. The NSAC wasn’t buying the story and refused him a license until reappearing in front of the commission this past December.
All went well in the hearings and Overeem is back in the mix of the UFC heavyweight division. He spoke with the media following his hearing and explained that he was now good to go;
“Today I went for my license” he explained following the hearing. “I’m very happy to inform you guys that I got licensed to fight February 2nd in the UFC against ‘Bigfoot’ Silva.”
“For me, it’s now back to work, back to entering the gym. I’m already basically in shape, so it’s just a couple more weeks of grinding it, and then it’s going to be showtime again.”
Overeem explained that during his suspension he focused on training and has actually added on more weight since his last fight back at UFC 141, in which he notched an impressive win over Brock Lesnar in December 2011. Overeem also spoke of working with a new nutritionist and medical team to ensure that his testosterone levels are now within allowable limits.
He stated, “I just invested in getting to the next level; 2012 was not a lost year. It was a year of learning from mistakes and preparing for a better 2013.”
Overeem will have a chance to prove that he hasn’t lost a step and is still worthy of a title shot if he can defeat ‘Bigfoot’ Silva on February 2nd at UFC 156.
So what do the fans think? Is Overeem worthy of the license and will he be a major threat to the heavyweight strap?Tags: alistair overeem, Antonio Silva, bigfoot silva, featured, Junior Dos Santos, Kizer, mma, MMA NEWS, NSAC, ufc, ufc 156