Photo: Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com
It's my experience that even the most outlandish excuses from athletes in times of great distress will be met with at least some degree of defense for a portion of fans and media. That doesn't seem to be the case with Alistair Overeem, however. After unveiling his excuse for failing his random pre-fight drug test for UFC 146 (and make no mistake, his impossibly high testosterone is a failed drug test), the media and MMA fans alike greeted his "I got an injection of anti-inflammatory medicine that caused the testosterone spike" with a collective eye roll.
Over at MMA Junkie, Dr. Johnny Benjamin was asked about the excuse and if it held water. His response was basically "no":
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.
Dr. Benjamin goes on to explain that testosterone is never included in these shots and, if it was, then Overeem has a duty to report the doctor who injected him and file charges with law enforcement for injecting it without the fighter's knowledge.
This is going to make for a serious test for the NSAC. The excuse is bad, the ratio would seem impossibly high for a "clean" athlete and Overeem was already under scrutiny for the circumstances behind a near month delay in submitting his random pre-fight sample for UFC 141. If the NSAC lets him off with just a slap on the wrist, it would approach the level of "shocking."
The thing that can't be overlooked here is that the NSAC has issued two pre-fight drug tests for Overeem fights, the first resulted in the aforementioned month delay before providing an acceptable sample and the second was a flat out failure due to tremendously elevated levels of testosterone. While they let him off easy with a conditional license the first time around, believing that Overeem flew back to Holland the day that the drug test was requested without asking for proof of the date of ticket purchase, this failure has to result in them dropping the hammer.
So we'll just have to wait and see how far this excuse can take him with the commission when they meet later today.