Just so we have this straight, these are the undisputed facts after Alistair Overeem’s hearing with the Nevada state athletic commission on Tuesday afternoon.
• He visited a Texas doctor he had only once previously met, about pain in his ribs, and the doctor immediately prescribed him an injection
• The doctor was aware Overeem was a professional athlete
• Overeem was aware he was subject to a random drug test at any time
• The doctor did not tell him what was in the injection
• Overeem did not ask what was in the injection
• Overeem not only took the shot, but took home a vial with two more doses, as well as syringes
• On March 23, four days before an unannounced random test in Las Vegas, Overeem injected himself with the medication
• On March 27, Overeem attended a UFC press conference
• Overeem’s camp was informed he would be tested at the conclusion of the press conference
• When the press conference was over, Overeem left without providing a urine sample -- “speeded out of the building” in the words of NSAC executive director Keith Kizer -- until being tracked down by a UFC employee and being told a missed test would count as a failed test
• He tested for an elevated level of testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio. At 14:1, the result was way above NSAC’s threshold of 6:1.
• Overeem couldn’t even bring himself to be upset with the doctor, saying that although he’d cost him a seven-figure payday and a chance at his “dream” of winning the UFC heavyweight title, he hadn’t acted with any "ill will."
Again, these facts are undisputed, revealed in the commission hearing by Overeem and his doctor, Hector Oscar Molina, while under oath. Yet somehow, Overeem escaped with a reduced penalty of nine months on the sidelines, with the NSAC commissioners practically rooting him on, characterizing his legal team’s presentation as “superlative.”
Amazingly, this hearing comes on the heels of a December meeting between the same two sides that was just slightly less absurd. At that time, Overeem had to explain why it had taken him weeks to provide the NSAC with a mandated urine sample. In his polite Dutch accent, the massively muscled 6-foot-5, 260-pounder explained that on the same day NSAC had informed his team of the need for a sample, he had returned home to Holland to care for his ailing mother, who had suffered from a recurrence of cancer.
On that, he was given the benefit of the doubt. He was never asked to provide an air travel receipt, or further prove his story. That is almost understandable, for fear of being considered insensitive to a human issue. But even after returning home to Holland in that instance, Overeem didn’t provide a urine sample for another 14 days, plenty of time to potentially flush his system. Incredibly, the commission chose to give him a conditional license anyway. One of the few conditions was that he submit to two random drug tests within a six-month period.
The March 27 test that he failed due to a high T/E ratio was the first one he owed them.
His excuse was centered around ignorance. He simply didn’t know what he was being injected with, he said. As far as he knew, it was just an anti-inflammatory. This seems a ludicrous assertion given his tenuous hold on a fighter’s license, along with his upcoming scheduled title fight. What pro athlete submits to an injection without asking the simplest of questions like, Hey doc, what’s in the needle?
As it stands, ignorance shouldn’t stand as an acceptable excuse. The athlete, after all, is ultimately responsible for what he puts in his body, and Overeem was so willing to take Dr. Molina’s drug cocktail, which also included Vitamin B12, dexamethasone and toradol, that he later injected himself with it, as well.
Despite the mountain of self-planted evidence, NSAC only saw fit to disallow Overeem from applying for an NSAC license for nine months (they could have made it one year). Why? Well, for one thing, they thought he was a nice guy.
“I find him to be a real gentlemen,” commissioner Bill Brady said.
“From what I have seen of Mr. Overeem, he’s a champion,” said chairman Skip Avansino. “He fights like a champion. I have no reason to think he juices himself with steroids or otherwise abuses the process."
This was a man who skipped out of the country on one test, tried to leave behind another, and failed a third -- all of which, by the way, came during a three-month span. If he is not “abusing the process,” who exactly is?
Before Overeem exited the hearing, the commission made sure to thank him for attending the meeting. It’s not easy to stand up in front of the public under the harsh light of these accusations, after all. Even if the ones there to judge you are the least critical audience you can find.
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