There may be a new challenger to Junior dos Santos’ heavyweight belt at UFC 146 after former Strikeforce champion and current No. 1 contender Alistair Overeem failed a pre-fight drug screening.
In a press release sent to Bleacher Report, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that the Dutch fighter tested positive for an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, exceeding 10-to-1.
Overeem was one of six main-card fighters to be tested by the commission on March 27, but the only one not to pass the test. The other fighters tested were the aforementioned dos Santos, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, Roy Nelson and UFC newcomer Antonio Silva.
With the result, Overeem’s participation in the May 26 event is unlikely. Now the question becomes, who will take his place?
The most likely candidates are either Mir or the man dos Santos defeated for the belt, Cain Velasquez. However, Mir and Velasquez were expected to meet in the night’s co-main event, so the entire card may have to be shuffled as a result.
This is the second time since joining the UFC that Overeem has run into problems with the NSAC. Prior to his UFC 141 main event against Brock Lesnar, Overeem was selected for a random test but left the country to return to his native Holland. The fighter then submitted blood and urine samples through his personal physician before the NSAC mandated a testing facility in the UK.
The fighter was granted a temporary license for the event, where he defeated Lesnar to earn a title shot. NSAC director Keith Kizer revealed that Overeem is not currently under license by the commission and will have to appear before them if he wishes to fight in the state for UFC 146 or any future events.
UFC 146 takes place from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and is expected to feature an all-heavyweight main card, although that may change if Overeem is pulled from the card.
Rob Tatum is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. Unless otherwise stated, all quotes were obtained first-hand. You can also find Rob’s work at The MMA Corner. For anything related to MMA, follow him on Twitter.