Alistair Overeem is making all the right noises with his official statement to his fans and friends regarding his abnormally high level of testosterone, which we posted earlier today. Apologetic, remorseful and a willingness to clear his name and rehabilitate his image, his reasoning for his test failure is both plausible and calculated. The statement might well be genuine and sincere, but it's hard not to view his words through a cynical eye.
On Tuesday, April 24, Overeem will yet again appear in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and I hope Keith Kizer and his fellow, presiding NSAC colleagues dissect his testimony with surgical precision.
In December when Overeem was questioned at an NSAC hearing over his leaving the country the week of a scheduled drug test prior to his fight with Brock Lesnar, the matter seamed glossed over as if it was just raised in casual conversation, rather than an official line of inquiry. The apparent failure to request and examine evidence that would corroborate Overeem's claims -- such as airline receipts, boarding cards and passport stamps -- could constitute a startling lack of due diligence on the NSAC's part.
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There are various aspects ofstatement -- which will likely form the basis and tone of his testimony tomorrow -- that need probing and picking at. For example, in his statement we can gather that Overeem is adamant he does not believe in the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs from a sporting, ethical standpoint, or that he has used Performance Enhancing Drugs. He is so righteous in his stance, he aims to do what ever it takes to prove his virtue as a clean athlete.
More after the jump...
And yet, for someone so apparently steadfast and committed to being clean, and thus someone we would expect to be completely aware of his dietary intake and medicinal treatments, he pleads ignorance and apologizes for his lack of vigilance regarding a doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory medication that had testosterone as a key ingredient.
Alistair Overeem is an experienced fighter competing near the top of his field, in a professional sport that -- at least in the United States -- is one of the more regulated out there. He's not a young 20 something kid who's yet to find the right trainers and managers to handle his affairs, and so mistakes can happen, but is someone with over 10 years in his chosen field and a professional team of people behind him, that should know better when it comes to following what amounts to simple protocols. Any professional fighter who has made it to the big leagues in MMA or Boxing should immediately be asking their doctors "What's in it?" whenever they are prescribed something for a medical condition. It is such an obvious yet crucial question, it should jump from their lips reflexively.
Then when it's revealed the medication might have a banned substance in it, or something that can cause a positive test, the fighter should have the athletic commission's office on speed dial, ready to get clearance or seek advice on how to proceed. Even if the doctor and the fighter is not sure if the prescribed medication can cause a test failure, call the commission anyway, read them the ingredients of the medication and if cleared for use, get that in writing from them.
These are protocols all fighters should be following, and we should expect nothing less from them as professional athletes. It is also this level of accountability all commissions should strictly hold them to, including the NSAC in Overeem's hearing tomorrow.