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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The Alistair Overeem situation has brought about a variety of reactions from all sides of the issue, but one argument in particular took things over the top on Monday night.
On a panel discussing the situation on Monday's edition of Inside MMA on HDNet, commentator "The Voice" Michael Schiavello came to Overeem's aid with one of the more ridiculous defenses offered.
"You know, while we're talking about the subject, Kenny, I just wanna chime in here on a couple things that have been playing on my mind, the last week or so, since the news of Alistair broke. Alistair doesn't have a license with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), so how are they testing him in the first place when he doesn't have a license with them?" Schiavello began (transcribed by MMAMania.com. "By what jurisdiction are they testing him? And 'B,' everyone seems to be hanging Alistair out to dry. They've been nailing him to the cross and crucifying him, but it's still two months away from his fight."
"You know, he hasn't technically cheated. Because, unless he pisses hot on the fight night, how could he possibly have cheated? There's still an opportunity he can get from the 14:1 down to the allowed 6:1 level by fight time. But we're calling him out as a cheat, two months out from a fight?"
Penick's Analysis: This is one of the more patently ridiculous statements made by anyone regarding the situation. For starters, the NSAC had every right to test Overeem for two reasons: 1) he was still subject to random drug testing for his provisional license from the Brock Lesnar fight, and 2) he was already scheduled to fight in Nevada at UFC 146 whether he had yet applied for a license or not. The intent to fight in their state had already been made public.
But that's not even the ridiculous part of this. If Overeem's 14:1 T/E ratio was the result of synthetic testosterone use, then he cheated, plain and simple. Performance enhancing substances are always prohibited; it doesn't matter whether it's on the night of the fight or day 15 of training camp, the rules on PEDs are the same, so saying "he hasn't technically cheated" because he can still get his levels within the limits is asinine. That's the reason to deter PED use! Fighters using steroids in training could cycle off in time to be clean by fight time, and that's what he's advocating by using this argument. PED use is not legal for fighters, whether training or fighting; those are the rules as written, those are the regulations they're supposed to be abiding by.
It hearkens back to the "Rampage" Jackson TRT situation. Low testosterone claims right now are being used as a loophole by many to get the performance enhancing benefits of testosterone use. If PEDs were legal and their use monitored it would be one thing, but that's not the case. So testing fighters out of competition or in training for competition is the best way to catch those that are using prohibited substances. I just can't believe anyone would try to make this argument, let alone a prominent MMA commentator. It's just beyond comprehension.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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