Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 | 8 p.m.
The UFC 141 main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem averted a near disaster Monday afternoon at a Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting.
Commissioners deliberated for an hour on what to do with Overeem’s request for a fight license after the 31-year old from Holland failed to meet the specific requirements of the state’s order for an in-training drug test last month.
The commission eventually decided to grant Overeem a conditional license. The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion must pass a urine test within the next 72 hours at an approved facility, take another screening prior to his Dec. 30 engagement with Lesnar and agree to random drug testing for six months after the bout.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate necessarily to deny his request for a license,” NSAC Chairman Raymond Avansino, Jr., said at one point during the hearing.
The problem arose on Nov. 17, when NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told the management teams of Lesnar and Overeem that their respective fighters would need to take a steroid screening within the next 48 hours. Lesnar complied almost immediately, but Kizer did not hear back from Overeem for five days.
It wasn’t until a week later that Overeem went to get tested in Holland, and he wasn’t administered the correct screening. Overeem gave a blood sample instead of a urine specimen.
He eventually provided a urine sample but not until Dec. 7, 20 days after Kizer’s initial request. The results weren’t available at the time of the meeting.
But Overeem, who defended himself over the phone at the hearing, said the delay had nothing to do with an attempt to cover anything up. He cited three primary reasons for the miscommunication — that he was in Holland caring for his ailing mother, that he had never fought in Nevada before and that the testing procedures in Holland were different.
“I did not take any efforts to avoid any testing,” Overeem said. “And furthermore, I have done exactly what I have been told to do by my assistants, who have been told what to do by Mr. Kizer.”
After questioning Overeem for a prolonged period, the commissioners expressed satisfaction in his explanation. Avansino described Overeem’s answers as “prompt, crisp and clear” and said the heavyweight didn’t sound deceptive.
The commissioners blamed Overeem’s assistants for failing to express the importance of taking the drug test promptly to the fighter.
“There certainly hasn’t been a great appreciation of the sense of urgency necessary when this commission asks for a random test,” Avansino said.