Penick's Take
PENICK: Will UFC's Alistair Overeem use TRT as a defense? Why that (likely) wouldn't work out for him with NSAC
Apr 10, 2012 - 11:45:31 PM

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Alistair Overeem is expected to address the Nevada State Athletic Commission later this month in regards to testing positive for an elevated testosterone to epistestosterone ratio at 14:1. Explaining a level like that is not going to be an easy task for Overeem, but once again the issue of testosterone replacement therapy has been brought into the fold.

MMATorch reader Robert B. sent in the following question regarding the Overeem situation:

"Now, I'm going to play devil's advocate for Alistair Overeem. Yes, he got popped with crazy testosterone levels. Is it possible for him to file for a TRT exemption now that he applied for his license in Nevada? Is he required to apply for the TRT exemption when he isn't licensed in that state? Just some food for thought."

Though neither Overeem or his camp have officially said anything regarding the situation, @FrontRowBrian on Twitter reports that TRT will indeed be Overeem's defense for the T/E ratio being as high as it was. Now, that's one report, and until the hearing we won't know for sure, but with the question being posed on the subject, how would it hold up for Overeem?

It's going to be very complicated for him, especially when you consider his statements to the NSAC just last November. Overeem has vehemently denied the use of any foreign substances in getting the physique he's developed over the years, calling himself the most tested athlete in the sport because of the steroid accusations in the past.

He hasn't tested positive for an elevated T/E ratio before, and when he was granted a conditional license by the NSAC for his December fight with Brock Lesnar, there was no request for a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone involved. Additionally, he knew he would be facing random tests for six months after the Lesnar fight, and if he was undergoing TRT in that time it would be something they would have needed to know.

If that's truly the argument he's going to use with the NSAC, I don't see how they'll take that explanation at face value. To say after the fact that he was using testosterone - whether there's any legitimate condition he's suffering that requires it - would contradict what he's said in the past regarding this subject.

Further, it's going to be hard to convince the NSAC that he's been diagnosed with a legitimate condition requiring TRT when it never came up in the last several months. It will be seen once again as a fighter trying to use a claim of Low T as a loophole for using TRT without getting a proper exemption in the first place.

That could also throw another wrench into things here. The NSAC has a process granting a therapeutic use exemption, and though it's not the most thorough process, it is still a 20-day process prior to approval. If - and it would be a massive if - the NSAC allows him to apply for a TUE for TRT, there's no guarantee that they would approve him following their application process. Since it's a 20-day process, if it doesn't start until April 24 - the date of this hearing - that would take them to just over a week out from the UFC 146 event.

The UFC couldn't keep him in the UFC 146 main event while waiting for that process to play out, not with him at risk of being denied approval for a TUE at that late stage. If this is the route he's going, I don't see how it will possibly work with the NSAC. While it's still just speculation at this point, I'm not seeing an argument that he can make that will have the NSAC approving him for licensure right now.

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