By Elias Cepeda
Following a hearing held earlier today, the Nevada State Athletic Commission denied UFC #1 heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem‘s request to be licensed to compete in the state. Overeem will not be allowed to reapply for a license in Nevada for nine months.
Because most states respect one another’s rulings and licenses — and because the UFC has a working practice of not circumventing U.S. athletic commission decisions by placing unlicensed or suspended fighters on foreign cards — Overeem will likely not be able to make a living fighting for the next nine months. He already lost out on his chance to challenge champion Junior Dos Santos May 26th because of his recent drug test, in which he came up positive for an dramatically elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone level.
Overeem was represented at his hearing by well-known attorney David Chesnoff. Chesnoff attempted to make the case that Overeem’s elevated levels were the result not of an attempt to enhance Overeem’s performance but rather of anti-inflammatory injections administered and prescribed by a Dallas-area doctor to help Overeem heal from injuries incurred in training and re-aggravated while fighting that the fighter was not told also contained testosterone.
Although the prescribing doctor, Hector Molina, was present at the hearing, Chesnoff requested a rare continuance from the commission so that he could bring in more expert witnesses. Chesnoff requested a continuance of 45-60 days but was denied by the commissioners, several of whom cited reasons of not wanting Overeem to have to wait up to two more months before being able to reapply for a license should his request not be granted, and not wanting the public to engage in months more of speculation.
Commissioners also commented how they did not see how any additional expert witnesses would change the evidence they had before them, namely Overeem’s late March test results. That stance would prove to be telling of the commission’s overall decision to not grant Overeem a license.
The commissioners asked Overeem and his doctor Molina question after question, but ultimately no responses from either could change the positive test’s position of utmost importance to the commission. “[Overeem] fights like a champion and I have no reason to believe he [uses] steroids,” one commissioner said. ”What I do know is that the test reflects a 14:1 ratio…What I do know is that I have a positive test in front of me,” he continued.
The commission did not use language impugning Overeem’s character, but rather his poor judgement in getting injections without knowing their content, from a doctor he said he did not research on his own. Overeem said that he became a patient of Dr. Molina on the basis of a recommendation from his friend and fellow UFC veteran, Tra Telligman, a Texas resident.
Johnny Benjamin, a physician and Association of Boxing Commissions’ MMA Medical Subcommittee member, recently wrote in his MMA Junkie column that Overeem’s defense was dubious.
“It is not uncommon for injured contact- or combat-sports athletes to require anti-inflammatory injections during their training. These injections usually consist of a short-acting anesthetic (lidocaine, xylocaine or marcaine) plus a glucocorticoid (cortisone). This injection immediately numbs the injury, and the cortisone provides longer lasting anti-inflammatory properties.
These injections are legal but must be disclosed on any and all pre-competition or random-screening paperwork.
Cortisone is a glucocorticoid steroid, which is much different than an anabolic steroid such as testosterone (T) and many of the synthetic performance-enhancing drugs (PED) with which the sporting world is unfortunately all too familiar.
Testosterone is never included in these injections for any legitimate purposes.
In the U.S., if a physician, in fact, injected him he with testosterone without his knowledge and consent, he should file a complaint with the appropriate state board of medicine and file charges with law enforcement.
If he is unwilling to do so, it speaks volumes as to the truthfulness of his assertions,” Benjamin wrote.
It is unknown whether or not Overeem has filed such a complaint against Dr. Molina, but the doctor referred to Overeem as a patient during the hearing and Overeem denied having any anger towards Molina when asked how it felt to be sitting next to him at the hearing by a commissioner.
A medical doctor by the name of Hector Oscar Molina practicing in the same area as Overeem’s Dr. Hector Molina was sanctioned in 2004 for not properly establishing “proper physician-patient relationships.” Dr. Molina was fined $25,000 and had restrictions placed on his practice by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners for prescribing controlled substances over the Internet, according to the Star-Telegram.
During today’s hearing in Nevada, Dr. Molina said that he has served as a ringside physician for the state of Texas since 2005. A Hector Oscar Molina listing his profession as medical doctor in the same Irving, Texas area was also arrested in 2010 on domestic family charges. (We have not confirmed if these are all the same person, but they all share the same name, profession, and area of residence and work.)
Commissioner Pat Lundvall addressed Overeem after the commission’s decision was handed down, telling him that he had to think more carefully about “who it is you have as a manager [and] who it is you have as medical professionals,” she said. “You need high quality advice.”
We will continue to bring you more on this story and the aftermath, as it all develops.