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If Alistair Overeem gets denied for a license due to his failed pre-fight drug test, what should the UFC do with him? Should they keep him on the roster or release him for torpedoing a massive main event?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It's funny. Based on how Alistair Overeem handles questioning from Pat Lundvall on April 24, he'll either fight for the most prestigious title in his sport, or he'll be unemployed (and immediately sign to fight Fedor Emelianenko in June). It seems obvious to me that the UFC won't keep him around if he fails the test. That said, all of their decisions on drug cheats are random and arbitrary, so who the f*** knows, really?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
They'd certainly be justified if they cut him. That's probably the move I'd go with. The only thing that could keep Overeem with the UFC is if they feel that the lack of good heavyweights would be a good reason to keep him around.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Honestly, it depends on the mood in which Dana White is in. He's canned fighters for comments on twitter and fighters not making weight. Torpedoing a massive main event? Don't be surprised to find Overeem back in his home country looking for a job. I say Dana waves him goodbye.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Are you kidding me? Chael Sonnen is still employed by UFC, so is Rampage Jackson, so why on God’s green earth will they fire someone who actually holds relevance with fans worldwide? PED’s or not, from a business standpoint the guy who caved in Brock Lesnar’s side is going to draw PPV buys on a large scale, something that neither Sonnen nor Jackson are going to do for you. Yes, what he (presumably) did is really bad for his name, and for the sport, but he is still an icon in the making and will have the opportunity to move past it, unless he pulls a Josh Barnett and hands them a urine sample that has developed muscle tissue from the levels of steroids within it. Suspend him, give him a final warning and make sure it doesn’t happen again – Overeem already looks like an idiot for submitting a sample that probably glowed in the dark, so let him live that down and overcome his mistake.
ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Release him. I say that as someone who wants steroids and HGH out of the sport. There have been alarm bells ringing about Alistair Overeem's physique for years. He's an exciting fighter and, for all I know, may be a great person, but it's time for the UFC to send the message that it will not tolerate a fighter putting his opponent's health at increased risk via the use of performance enhancing drugs.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
No matter what they say, they will eventually bring him back. Time and time again, the UFC reminds us of the hard line they take against cheaters and those athletes who choose to use performance enhancing drugs. Time and time again though, the UFC has allowed these same athletes back into the organization. A partial list includes: Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia, Vitor Belfort, Stephan Bonner, Royce Gracie, Phil Baroni, Sean Sherk, Antonio Silva, Chris Leben, Chael Sonnen, and the list goes on. It is frustrating to me as a fan of MMA, the UFC does not require monthly testing for every fighter under contract. It would be expensive, but until they figure out a way to effectively deal with this problem, they should stop complaining when these fights are compromised. How much money have they wasted promoting fights never to take place? Overeem is one of the biggest names in MMA. He will serve his punishment and then fight for a title on his second fight back.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
Release him, embarrass him, and finally set an example for others to use as a barometer. It's one thing to send Nate Marquadt packing. To do it to a high profile money maker like Alistair Overeem is another, and would finally make fighters sit up and take notice. White can hide behind NSAC guidelines, and wax lyrical about how much testing is done, but it's pointless if the punishment never fits the crime. I always refer back to Rio Ferdinand as a solid reference. He's a soccer player in England who was suspended for nine months for forgetting about a pre-arranged drug test (he passed the next day). That is a punishment, and had he tested positive for a PED, his ban would have been substantially prolonged.
Despite the fact Overeem has likely cheated, the decision on whether to release him or not will ultimately come down to how much money this has cost Zuffa. Had this happened post fight he almost certainly keeps his UFC contract. This has all happened pre-fight, though, and it's going to cost Zuffa money. Therefore he'll be unemployed when the dust finally settles. I can't think of another professional sports company with such an inadequate rule book, all regulated with amateurish peculiarity. This issue clearly needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. If he's found guilty they need to send Overeem packing, with a very lengthy, maybe even lifetime ban. Only then might others consider the potential consequences, before going down the road of using performance enhancing drugs.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think the time has come where the UFC needs to step up and protect their brand. There is just so much talk about PEDs in MMA right now that the UFC needs to show that they're in control of their athletes. If I were the UFC, I'd cut Alistair Overeem right now.
The fact is, Overeem went from being a mediocre light heavyweight to probably the second biggest heavyweight in the UFC. Now that this test result has essentially confirmed suspicions that he's achieved his size through use of PEDs, the UFC needs to distance themselves from him at all costs.
All it's going to take is one mainstream media outlet to pick up on the PED use in MMA right now and we're looking at a MLB type scandal for the UFC. Zuffa needs to really clean up its act and I'm not sure they can do with someone who looks like Alistair Overeem on their roster.
[Alistair Overeem art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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