By Elias Cepeda
(Come on NSAC, can’t we talk this out?)
Alistair Overeem may have failed his recent surprise drug test, but it appears that he isn’t giving up on challenging heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146 on May 26th. He has requested a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and has been given a hearing date of April 24th, little more than a month before he hopes to still vie for the UFC belt.
After testing positive for elevated testosterone levels in late March in Nevada, Overeem had the option of asking the state’s athletic commission to test the second sample they took from him during their test, as well as the option of deciding to apply for a license in the state at a hearing.
After turning in a required urine sample for testing nearly a month late last year to Nevada in the lead up to his UFC 141 main event fight with Brock Lesnar, the state granted Alistair a conditional license that allowed him to fight, but required that he be subjected to two additional surprise drug tests in the future.
Overeem’s conditional license ran out at the end of 2011 and, though he was booked by the UFC to take on Dos Santos in Nevada at UFC 146, Overeem had yet to apply for a new license with the commission at the time he was most recently tested. Because of this, the commission cannot suspend Overeem for his positive test, but they can, and likely will, take it into consideration as he applies for a license.
Neither Overeem nor the NSAC has announced whether the fighter has requested that his B sample also be tested. Should he request that it be done, and that sample comes back negative, he would be in the clear.
The UFC has not announced a replacement for Overeem but President Dana White has said publicly that Dos Santos will defend his belt against someone on May 26th. White has also rejected Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez as possible opponents for Dos Santos, saying that they will fight one another as scheduled at UFC 146.
Dan Henderson has said through his twitter account that he would take the fight with Dos Santos if he were offered it. The forty one year old has been a world champion before at middleweight and light heavyweight but also recently knocked out former heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in under one round and is coming off of a decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a bout that might be the most exciting single battle in mixed martial arts history.
An online fan campaign to give Mark Hunt a shot at Dos Santos at UFC 146 has also popped up. Hunt’s overall MMA record stands at 8-7, but he is an exciting knockout artist who once was a world kickboxing champion and is currently riding a three-fight win streak in the UFC.
At press time it appears that White and the UFC are hanging on to the chance that, after his April 24th hearing, Overeem will be allowed to fight. It’s unknown what type of accounting Overeem might give for himself to convince the NSAC that they should license him to fight.
Nevada does allow the possibility of Dan Henderson Talks Openly About His TRT Exemption; Says Stricter Testing is Needed of Approved Fighters” href=”http://www.cagepotato.com/dan-henderson-talks-openly-about-his-trt-exemption-says-stricter-testing-is-needed-of-approved-fighters/”>therapeutic use exemptions for certain substances that might have contributed to Overeem’s elevated levels of testosterone. Recently, UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen, who tested for higher levels of testosterone than Overeem after his failed title challenge against Anderson Silva in 2010, testified before the NSAC that he received hormone therapy from doctors because of a deficiency in testosterone.
If the UFC is to stick to its plan to have Dos Santos defend his title in May, and Overeem is not licensed to fight him at the end of this month, they will only have about a month to find a suitable replacement title challenger.