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Two plausible paths for Alistair Overeem to get licensed in Nevada

By Zach Arnold | April 10, 2012

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Karim Zidan (@theflyingkneeto) of The Flying Knee MMA noted on his site last Sunday (item here), Alistair Overeem will in fact attend a scheduled April 24th hearing in Las Vegas in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to apply for a fighter’s license. In addition, so far, he is not asking for his B urine sample to be tested in order to nullify the initial drug testing result of his A urine sample.

So, what’s going on here?

Everyone is guessing about what his strategy will be if it’s not predicated on getting the B sample tested with a Carbon Isotope Ratio test. When the news broke on Sunday, there was plenty of mockery and plenty of ‘horse meat’ reasons being dished online.

What makes this situation fascinating is that UFC reportedly is the party that set up the licensing request for Overeem with Nevada for the April 24th hearing. Either UFC is confident that Overeem has a plausible reason to get licensed or they are basically putting the pressure on Overeem in a ‘OK, you made this mess, now go clean it up’ kind of way.

In the embedded Inside MMA video clip at the top of this post, Kenny Rice & Bas Rutten had one hell of a panel on their show to discuss the issue of drug usage in MMA — Michael Schiavello (happy birthday), Joe Rogan, and Josh Barnett. If you had told me ahead of time that Schiavello would have the most controversial comments about PED usage out of those three names, I would have never believed you.

Schiavello says that, off the record, fighters tell him that the rate of PED usage in MMA is ‘about 99%.’ He went on to present some reasons to use to defend Overeem. His two arguments:

Even Joe Rogan pointed out the obvious in saying that there’s a reason why random drug testing is used. I was taken aback by the assertion that basically it’s OK to use testosterone or whatever you want to use as long as by fight time you are down to a 6:1 T/E ratio. It’s an assumption that basically relies upon a premise that everyone is using, why fight it, and just recognize it for what it is. It’s also an argument that nullifies the point of drug testing in the first place, which is to try to catch guys who are using banned substances in order for a performance-enhancing benefit in preparation of a fight.

The last point is a salient one given that there are recent articles published quoting Swedish scientists as claiming that once someone uses steroids, they gain whatever benefits from steroid usage long after they stop using steroids.

So, given how everyone is playing the guessing game as to what Overeem will say on April 24th, there are two plausible paths that I could see UFC & Overeem arguing at the Nevada hearing. Michael Schiavello hinted at the first path.

Door #1 – How can you randomly drug test someone who isn’t ‘officially’ licensed?

Last week during a radio interview featuring Keith Kizer & Mauro Ranallo, this issue became a contentious one because a lot of people are totally confused about the way Nevada has handled the licensing procedures for Overeem. Let’s summarize what has happened so far:

If this process sounds absurd to you, that’s because it is. Nevada got their money for the Overeem/Lesnar fight while Overeem was fighting on a conditional temporary license. Now that he failed a drug test, he’s caught in the same limbo that Josh Barnett found himself caught in with the California State Athletic Commission.

PR-wise, attacking Nevada over this licensing process is probably better than the other plausible path Overeem has to pursue for licensing but it’s also a lot riskier & is likely going to really anger the commission.

The other path is a not-so PR friendly one these days.

Door #2 – Hypogonadism (testosterone replacement therapy)

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Chiappetta of MMAFighting.com wrote an article in which he stated that Keith Kizer had told him that the process for getting a Theurapeutic Use Exemption in Nevada for testosterone takes 20 days. I kid you not, 20 days.

You can see where this is going. Damon Martin:

Keith Kizer confirms with me today that a fighter can apply for TRT exemption either before or with their application for a license.

Overeem’s T/E ratio was reportedly 14:1. When Chael Sonnen tested positive in California, his T/E ratio was nearly 17:1. Sonnen then came out and had his appeals hearing where he said that Dr. Mark Czarnecki, a general practitioner, wrote his prescription for testosterone. In Sonnen’s case, he was already licensed and got suspended. In Overeem’s case, he is nebulously not ‘officially’ licensed to fight in Nevada. They have him classified for a ‘conditional’ license even though he’s already fought once (the Brock Lesnar fight) and the commission got paid because of the box office that bout did.

So, let’s say Overeem does claim hypogonadism and goes the TRT route. Keith Kizer has left the door open for Overeem to claim hypogonadism and the need for testosterone. If Nevada gives him his Exemption, the fight with Junior dos Santos is on.

If Nevada rejects Overeem, he could easily go to another state where Therapeutic Use Exemptions are issued with less scrutiny and fight there. Or… he could simply fight for the UFC on shows that they regulate under the auspices of using a TUE for testosterone and that Dr. Jeff Davidson would manage the situation.

So, Overeem’s options for fighting still exist no matter what happens in Nevada.

What would make Overeem applying for TRT so interesting is whether or not any testimony he would give on April 24th would conflict with the testimony he gave under oath to Nevada a few months ago. After all, UFC President Dana White has readily admitted that many MMA fighters who are applying for TRT are previously anabolic steroid users.

Outside of applying for a TUE for testosterone or aggressively attacking the ambiguity of Nevada’s licensing process, I don’t see why Overeem would even bother attending the April 24th hearing if he’s not having the B sample tested with CIR. It’s hard to see what other angle he could come up with here. He’s stuck in a very tenuous position. He split off from Golden Glory, so that bridge is burned and they are going after him for cash. UFC is his only big meal ticket. DREAM is dormant and not active. There’s no major player in Japanese MMA any longer on a national level. One FC likely isn’t going to be able to afford him. He got stiffed (allegedly) by K-1 on a lot of money and Ishii is back with K-1 Global Holdings and is supposed to be working with Simon Rutz of Its Showtime, a mortal enemy of Bas Boon & Golden Glory. I suppose there’s that route… but it’s simply not UFC money.

If Overeem presents a case that doesn’t revolve around the need of testosterone to function, what angle does he possess? Is it simply to say, yeah, I screwed up, I’ll wait a year and then get licensed after that time period in hopes of getting a second chance with UFC? It’s hard to say.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “Two plausible paths for Alistair Overeem to get licensed in Nevada”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    There is no good argument for Alistair Overeem being at a 14:1 ratio. Nothing. Legit TRT would never have somebody at that level. And Overeem was supposed to be tested due to the Lesnar testing issues…. Plus he was scheduled for an upcoming fight. So the NSAC had a right to test him.

    Now, lets get to two potential outcomes of the NSAC here….

    1) The UFC applied for Alistair Overeem’s license as a way to get it on the record that he is incapable of fighting for a year. This makes the most logical sense. Get him in front of the commission, have them officially say he was denied a license, and that he can’t get a new one for a year.

    Zuffa can then either fire him or use that ineligibility to freeze his current contract until the 1 year time period is up.

    This makes the most sense, and Zuffa can then say the AC’s did their job and they have clean hands of the entire situation.

    2) This is a much less likely option. NSAC finds some loophole to allow him to fight. Zuffa goes along with it because it is a bigger money fight.

    If this does happen, they will completely kill their 1% of credibility in the eyes of sports fans. Personally, it would completely sour me to the UFC and probably greatly decrease my viewing of their shows. I would stick to a few big events a year. I really really hope this does not happen.

    ********

    So most likely what will happen is that Overeem gets wrecked by the NSAC…. Zuffa either fires him or doesn’t use him for a year…. And then either Frank Mir or Fabricio Werdum fill in for Overeem with the title shot.

    This is the most likely scenario…. But I cringe at the thought of what would happen if Overeem does get allowed to fight…. Crossing my fingers that doesn’t happen.

    ********

    “If Nevada rejects Overeem, he could easily go to another state where Therapeutic Use Exemptions are issued with less scrutiny and fight there. Or… he could simply fight for the UFC on shows that they regulate under the auspices of using a TUE for testosterone and that Dr. Jeff Davidson would manage the situation.”

    If his license request is rejected in Nevada, he cannot apply for a new one for 1 year in that state. Which means most AC’s will not touch him. And the UFC is highly unlikely to use him in a weak state or internationally until he can get it squared away with the NSAC.

    http://mmajunkie.com/news/28166/ufc-files-license-application-for-alistair-overeem-nsac-to-review-on-april-24.mma

    This is why the UFC was the ones who put in the licenses request.

    I’m sure if it was up to Overeem, he would just ignore the situation and then wait 6 months and fight in some other state.

    With the UFC forcing his hand, it likely means they are fed up with his drug issue and are purposely getting him for a license revoked status.

  2. fd says:

    “There is no good argument for Alistair Overeem being at a 14:1 ratio. Nothing. Legit TRT would never have somebody at that level.”

    That simply isn’t true. “Legit TRT” is not based on a ratio, it’s based on bringing the testosterone levels of your blood up to a normal range. A normal range of testosterone is 400 – 800 ng/dL for an adult male. The “T/E ratio”, which is what you’re talking about when you say 14:1, is the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. Urine tests use the T/E ratio because administering exogenous testosterone doesn’t affect epitestosterone, so when the ratio is high it’s generally an indication that someone has been injecting additional testosterone – but it doesn’t tell you anything about what their actual levels are.

    Someone with legitimate hypogonadism might have, for example, testosterone levels as low as 50 ng/dL. Their epitestosterone would typically be at the same level, 50 ng/dL, for a 1:1 ratio. If they administered testosterone to bring themselves up to a normal level, say 700 ng/dL, this would not affect their epitestosterone levels – so they would have a ratio of 700:50, or 14:1.

    Now, I think the odds of Overeem having any legitimate claim on TRT are so low as to be infinitesimal and I’ll be surprised if he even tries to go that route. But saying “legit TRT would never have somebody at [a 14:1 ratio]” just indicates you don’t understand what the T/E ratio means.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Oh I understand it. Your example would be such an outlier that it is almost statistically impossible.

      The average T/E ratio is slight above 1:1. Some athletes can get closer to 4:1, but that is rare. Almost no athletes will ever see 6:1 naturally.

      14:1 is so high that what you are claiming won’t be a defense.

      • fd says:

        Did you read what I actually wrote? “Average T/E ratios” are completely meaningless when discussing TRT, because all an out-of-whack T/E ratio tells you is that someone injected testosterone. In the case of TRT, the fact that they injected testosterone is not in dispute. What matters is the level of testosterone, and the T/E ratio does not tell you that.

        Seriously, if you’re going to talk about TRT scenarios educate yourself to the extent that you can do so without sounding like an idiot.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I read what you said.

          TRT is only supposed to put a fighter back to normal levels.

          And based on studies, normal levels are about a 1:1 ratio. And even in extreme outliers, 4:1 or 6:1 rarely occur.

          So if TRT was being used, it was being abused.

        • fd says:

          “I read what you said.
          TRT is only supposed to put a fighter back to normal levels.
          And based on studies, normal levels are about a 1:1 ratio.”

          Evidently, you didn’t read what I said. Here, I’ll quote it.

          “A normal range of testosterone is 400 – 800 ng/dL for an adult male. The “T/E ratio”, which is what you’re talking about when you say 14:1, is the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. Urine tests use the T/E ratio because administering exogenous testosterone doesn’t affect epitestosterone, so when the ratio is high it’s generally an indication that someone has been injecting additional testosterone – but it doesn’t tell you anything about what their actual levels are.”

          What determines if TRT is being abused is if the testosterone levels go above a normal range – ie, above 800 ng/dL. The T/E ratio does not tell you that.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And what I am telling you is that a 14:1 ratio is telling you that testosterone is above normal levels. It’s too large of a difference to just be a hormonal imbalance.

          If he had normal testosterone levels and still pissed a 14:1 ratio, then it is STILL a sign of doping. And once again TRT is not a defense.

        • fd says:

          “And what I am telling you is that a 14:1 ratio is telling you that testosterone is above normal levels.”

          And again, you are flat out wrong. A 14:1 ratio tells you that testosterone is above the levels that person started out with. It does not tell you if it is above normal adult male range, which is what matters when it comes to TRT. Again, please read what I wrote.

          “If he had normal testosterone levels and still pissed a 14:1 ratio, then it is STILL a sign of doping. And once again TRT is not a defense.”

          If he had normal testosterone levels and still pissed a 14:1 ration, of course it’s a sign of doping. What it isn’t is a sign that he’s doped sufficiently to exceed normal human levels, which means that yes, TRT IS a defense you idiot. What do you think TRT is? It’s legally administering Testosterone to bring yourself up to normal human levels. If someone pisses a 14:1 it indicates he administered testosterone, and if he has normal testosterone levels it indicates that he administered testosterone to the point that he had normal human levels – exactly how TRT is supposed to work.

          You are completely and totally wrong. I realize you’re incapable of actually admitting that, but you are making yourself look like someone incapable of reading.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “You are completely and totally wrong. I realize you’re incapable of actually admitting that, but you are making yourself look like someone incapable of reading.”

          This has never stopped him before. Don’t fool yourself into thinking he’d actually admit he didn’t know what he was talking about and he was wrong. The best you’ll get at an admission is once he constantly starts reframing what it was he was actually arguing about. That’s what we love about him. :)

        • david m says:

          lol at 45 getting entirely clowned and being too stubborn/stupid to say “oh, you know what, you are right.”

        • Tom says:

          For the curious – why aren’t the doctors administering the TRT ensuring their patient’s T/E ratios stay between 1:1 to 4:1?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          1) I’m not wrong.

          2) This is the internet. Even if you are at the edge of defeat, you never cease your position. You double down and fire back. lol

        • The Gaijin says:

          Actually, friend – you’re dead wrong.

          http://www.mmamania.com/2012/4/11/2939357/alistair-overeems-testosterone-trt-hearing-nsac-april-24-ufc-146-mma

          “T/E ratio only shows that synthetic testosterone has been used, thereby upsetting the naturally occurring 1:1 balance that is normal for most. But it doesn’t tell you how much ACTUAL testosterone is coursing through the athlete’s bloodstream — only that all the testosterone in their blood wasn’t provided by Mom and Dad but was increased through unnatural methods.”

          Blood testosterone level testing is required to see what the actual testosterone levels are in a person’s system.

          I was not aware of this difference until now. Interesting.

  3. Jamie Penick says:

    Schiavello’s comments are unbelievably ridiculous. PEDs are a banned substance regardless of when they’re taken, not just in competition. This isn’t like Diaz’s marijuana case where there is a distinction made between in competition and out of competition. PEDs are not allowed whether you’re training or in a fight, and Schiavello making the argument that he “hasn’t technically cheated” because he wasn’t caught at fight time is asinine.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The entire HDNet crew is out of touch with reality….

      • Hans says:

        At least we know what a “ratio” is…

        • 45 Huddle says:

          We? You work there? Sorry to hear that….

          And speaking of the great guys at HDNet…. Frank Trigg lost his job with them…. Had an affair… And choked his wife (bruised her neck) in front of their kids.

          What is wrong with people….

  4. zack says:

    Is Sonnen’s 17:1 number legit? For some reason I remember it being more complicated.

    • Bix says:

      His urine test did indeed come back with a 16.9:1 T:E ratio. Where it gets complicated is his defense.

      The T:E ratio is used to detect the presence of artificial testosterone (except in the rare outliers like Chris Hero who fall outside the norm). Since Sonnen wasn’t disputing that he was taking artificial testosterone, they would need his total testosterone level o show what kind of range he is in. Since the ACs don’t blood test, there was no way of knowing what his total testosterone level at the time of the fight.

      Oh, and Sonnen has muddied it by saying stuff like Josh Gross made up that he had 16x the normal male amount of testosterone.

  5. Jonathan says:

    My balls are so good that I’ve got a 10,000:1 ratio

  6. Hans says:

    Two points:

    1. The UFC applying for Overeem’s license is a bit of a non-issue. From what the commission said, it sounds like they just forwarded his license application and that is totally normal.

    2. If Overeem requests a test of his “B” sample, it would also be carbon tested and reveal whether he took synthetic testosterone. If he doesn’t have carbon testing done, he will still have plausible deniability about how his levels got so high, without the smoking gun of a carbon test showing synthetic testosterone in his system.

  7. liger05 says:

    I think its a disgrace that people actually try to make a defence for it. The idea that random testing is pointless as come fight time its all ok as long as your at 6:1 is absurd.

    The way I see it is people are just pissed that a fight they wanted to see looks like its off and now they want to make any possible excuse for the fight to still ahead.

    To say he hasnt cheated cos he hasnt got a licence or due to the fight still being 2 months away is beyond stupid!!

  8. Keith Harris says:

    Zach, do you know whether fighters have to take blood tests to get a TUE for testosterone in Nevada?

    Ed. — I’m not 100% certain, but I think the answer initially is yes. @mikechiappetta & @benfowlkesmma on Twitter could tell you with certainty.

    • fd says:

      http://www.mmafighting.com/ufc/2012/3/30/2911952/peds-in-mma-the-trouble-with-testing

      “In Nevada, a fighter must submit an application for a TUE at least 20 days before a fight. Along with it, he must provide results of no fewer than five tests, measuring things like total serum testosterone level (on separate occasions), luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and measurement of hemoglobin and hematrocrit levels. The commission also reserves the right to require additional tests measuring serum prolactin and iron saturation, pituitary function testing, and MRI of the sella turcica. They must also be able to prove there is no reasonable alternative therapy.”

      You need a blood test to measure most of those things, so yes, they do require a blood test.

  9. dnm3k says:

    I feel like it’s going to go down like this, he’s going to apply and wait for thwm to say “Hey, Mr.Megareem…. you pissed hot….”

    and as Keizer is saying it, Megareem’s lawyer will object and go off on a rant how the way Megareem was tested, would be no different than the NSAC coming to myself, or another JoeSchmo at the press conference and saying whip it out, it’s time.
    Allistar was in Vegas, technically as an unlicensed private citizen, much like the press and fans at the press event.

    Where is there legal jusidiction to mandate a urine sample from someone who DOES NOT CURRENTLY HAVE A 2012 NSAC fighters license?

    It seemed based on timeline events that the MMA world found out at the same time, if not before Megareem that he pissed hot. Keizer was talking and stating we haven’t heard a response from Megareem etc…. So is there legit confirmation they notified him before making this public knowledge?

    Megareems hot piss wasn’t a piss test for a conditional license or a full license, it was an out of competition test, so if Allistar comes in to the hearing,and offers to piss on the spot I could see the NSAC being stuck on technicalities.

    Who knows? Keizer has come off as one of the shadiest players of all commissions since he took the head office spot. No other commissioner likes to see his name in the headlines.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      1) He was scheduled for an event, which means NSAC has the right to test him.

      2) As part of his conditional license for the Brock Lesnar fight, he agreed to 2 more random drug tests.

      So the NSAC not only had a right to test him…. They told them they were at some point. And he agreed in order to fight Lesnar.

  10. dnm3k says:

    Huddle, I remember reading here, people mentioning good luck testing MEGAREEM twice before the end of his license in 2011 when it was approved within days of the event.

    I still believe theres the chance that enforcing two random tests is futile since it was past the expiration date of the mock conditional license.

    Ya gotta think legally, and how they can pick apart the claim of Keith Hitler and co on the commission.

    You’re seeing that already with challenging the detailed wording of the written laws in the Nick Diaz case vs the NSAC. But they need to shoot down, dismiss and strike the dirty piss from the record books, so that way, it is inadmissible as “evidence” during a hearing on the issue.

    • SmackyBear says:

      NAC 467.089 Effect of expiration of license on jurisdiction of Commission. (NRS 467.030) The expiration of a license does not deprive the Commission of jurisdiction to:
      1. Proceed with an investigation of the licensee;
      2. Proceed with an action or disciplinary proceeding against the licensee;
      3. Render a decision to suspend or revoke the license; or
      4. Otherwise discipline the licensee.

      There’s no case to make that the expired license removes NSAC authority.

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