Alistair Overeem caused a ripple effect in the heavyweight title picture
Nine months. That's the length of the suspension handed out by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to former Strikeforce and K-1 champion Alistair Overeem for his elevated testosterone to epitestosterone level in his UFC 146 pre-fight drug test.
As a result of the test, Overeem was pulled from the heavyweight title fight against current champion Junior dos Santos, essentially pulling the air out of the all-heavyweight pay-per-view card.
Instead of the hyped match-up between dos Santos' boxing prowess and Overeem's world-class kickboxing, the Brazilian will now take on former champion, and submission specialist, Frank Mir.
The ripple effect did not stop there. Mir was slated to face another former champion in the co-main event, Cain Velasquez. With Mir taking on dos Santos, Velasquez will welcome former Strikeforce combatant Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva to the Octagon.
As such, Silva's original opponent, Roy Nelson, will take on Gabriel Gonzaga. But it doesn't stop there, Gonzaga was set to face another UFC newcomer, Shane Del Rosario. The former Strikeforce fighter will now face fellow undefeated prospect, Stipe Miocic thanks to all of the shuffling.
Did you get all of that?
The shock waves caused by Overeem's removal have created a very unclear title picture for the division. The Mir/Velasquez winner was slated to be the next challenger for the belt, but now the co-main event features two fighters coming off losses in their last bouts. Selling either fighter—Velasquez or Silva—as the next contender may prove to be difficult for the promotion.
Further complicating things is the fact that Overeem can return to competition in December. The failed test is an obvious black eye for the fighter and the promotion, but denying "The Reem's" fighting abilities is difficult. Should he be forced to start at the bottom of the ladder when he returns? Or should he be given the title shot he earned prior to the failed test?
Whatever the UFC decides, the events that have unfolded over the last month have left the division in a state of disarray. One can only hope that on May 26, the heavyweight title picture will sort itself out in the best way possible, inside the Octagon.