MMA News

Alistair Overeem Granted Conditional License For UFC 141

photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Complete details of Alistair Overeem’s license hearing in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – New UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem was granted a conditional fighting license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission today for his UFC 141 main event against Brock Lesnar.

The license was granted on three conditions: Overeem must submit a new urine sample at an approved lab in the next 72 hours; he must also take a urine test upon arriving in the United States, and he must also pass two random tests at some point in the next six months.

Overeem’s application for licensure came under fire after he failed to provide a mandatory random drug sample as directed on Nov. 17 by Executive Director Keith Kizer. Kizer had contacted the representatives for Lesnar and Overeem on that day and given them the standard procedure for filing a drug sample with the commission. Once contacted, fighters are generally given until 5 p.m. the next day to provide a sample, and they are given a list of World Anti-Doping Agency-certified laboratories near their zip code where an observed urinalysis can be conducted.

The next morning, Lesnar’s lawyer and manager, Brian C. Stegeman, told Kizer that no WADA lab was close to Lesnar’s location, and asked if Lesnar could provide a sample at a local hospital. Kizer told Stegeman it was fine as long as an observed urinalysis could be conducted, and Kizer was assured that it could. Lesnar traveled to the hospital, took the rest and the results were clear.

Overeem was also asked to drop a urine sample on Nov. 17, but Kizer received no response from his camp for four days following the request. The following Monday (Nov. 21), Kizer called his lab coordinators to let them know that Lesnar had gone to a different location to drop his urine sample, but also to ask if Overeem or his camp had called the 1-800 number to set up a urine drop. They informed Kizer that Overeem had not called. Kizer then emailed Overeem assistant Collin Lam, with a carbon copy to the UFC’s regulation department, giving him the toll-free number again. Later that afternoon, Lam called Kizer back and said that Overeem had flown to Holland on the 17th at 6 p.m. due to an illness with his mother, but that he was going to look into accredited labs in Holland for Overeem to get tested.

Lam informed Kizer that Overeem would be going to his doctor on Tuesday to get a request for lab work done, and then he would go to the actual lab for the testing on Wednesday. A week later, Kizer got the test results back, but it was the wrong kind of test – Overeem had done a blood test and not the required observed urine sample. Kizer said that the test results were the kind of results that would have indicated steroid use if Overeem had been using them, but it still was not a steroid test.

On December 1st, Lam emailed Kizer and said he would get Overeem in for a steroid test and gave him a long list of everything that would be tested. Kizer told Lamb that the steroid bank that would be tested was the proper list for commission rules. Lamb told Kizer on Dec. 6 that Overeem would be going in the next day for the testing, and Lamb said the test actually happened on the 7th, but that results for the test were not in. The commission also could not verify, at least as of publication time, that Overeem was actually tested on the 7th.

“Mr. Lam has been very helpful here, and I want to state that on the record,” Kizer said. “But I also want to state on the record that Mr. Stegeman called me back the next day and explained that they were having trouble. I did not hear back from Mr. Lam for five days plus, and at that point he had jumped on a plane to Holland.”

Overeem was sworn in before the commission to give his side of the story. He said he flew out of Las Vegas, not Los Angeles as Kizer originally believed, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17th, the day he was notified that he needed to drop a urine sample. Overeem stated that he wasn’t made aware until he reached Holland that he needed to take a steroid test, and at that point, said he had complied with everything that was asked of him.

“I did not make any efforts to avoid any testing, and furthermore, I have done exactly what I was told to do by my assistants who were being told what to do by Mr. Kizer,” Overeem said.

Nevada commissioner Raymond “Skip” Avansino could not understand why Overeem had such difficulty in finding a lab to process the test results in Holland and why the sample had to be sent to Germany for processing.

“I have visited Holland many times. It is certainly very active in sports like football, cycling, ice skating and volleyball. I find it somewhat incredulous that we can’t locate a testing facility, and I’m sure the UFC executives here could be of some assistance to me, in Amsterdam or some other location in this very advanced country,” Avansino said. “I find it a little difficult to understand why it needs to be sent to Germany.”

Overeem repeatedly detailed lab testing procedures in Holland, in which a patient must make a formal request through his doctor before being allowed to go to the lab. He was also questioned about his previous steroid testing procedures. He said that in the past, he was never required to go through the process of taking a steroid test on his own and that commissions always handled everything for him. He was questioned about steroid testing procedures in Japan and gave a nebulous answer, only saying that yes, they were tested in Japan.

Overeem was also questioned about the sample being taken by his personal physician and not a lab, as required by commission law.

Avansino: “So in your case your specimen was taken by your physician?”

Overeem: “Well, um…”

Avansino: “That’s a yes or no, Mr. Overeem.”

Overeem: “Yes, I did it at the facility. But that was not the full panel test, which I learned afterwards because this is the first time I have done the procedure. We had to look for other options, because it’s the first time I’m doing a full panel test in Holland. So my doctors researched the subject and we found that we could do the testing in Germany in a laboratory. And there were also some complications. In Europe, one person cannot do all of this. It has to be requested by the organization. So for me, it’s hard to test myself, and I’ve learned that while going through this procedure.”

The commission ultimately concluded that Overeem had been truthful in his on-the-record statements to the commission, but that the communications issues lay largely with his own assistants and staff. Overeem apologized for the delays and promised to abide with everything the commission asked of him.

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