Insisting he is a "clean fighter," UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem says his failed drug test was the result of a prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.
Overeem's explanation — and apology — comes on the eve of an appearance before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
"Prior to the UFC 146 press conference in March, I aggravated an old rib injury on my left side," the former Strikeforce champion said in a statement Monday. "My doctor prescribed, and I accepted, an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone.
"I was completely unaware that testosterone was one of the ingredients in the medication. Although I was unaware, I do realize it is my job to know what I am putting into my body."
Overeem's failed drug test showed a 14-1 testosterone-epitestosterone ratio, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Most people are a ratio of 1-1 although the commission allows for a ratio of 6-1. The World Anti-Doping Agency allows a 4-1 ratio.
WADA says an elevated T/E "may be an indicator of the use of a prohibited substance."
Since Overeem is currently without a license to fight — his last one expired at the end of 2011 — he will have to appear before the Nevada commission to get a new one. That means explaining the failed drug test.
That hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Typically, fighters' licenses expire at the end of the calendar year. They then have to apply for a new one, with updated medicals and drug tests.
The UFC announced Friday it had replaced Overeem with former champion Frank Mir in the UFC 146 main event. Overeem apologized for that upheaval in his statement.
"I am deeply saddened to announce that on Friday, April 20, I respectfully withdrew from the May 26 event so that I can request a continuance until my situation with the Nevada State Athletic Commission is resolved," Overeem said.
"I cannot express how sorry I am to the commission, Junior Dos Santos, the fans, the owners and employees of the UFC, my friends and family and anyone else who this has affected.
"I absolutely do not believe in, nor do I use performance-enhancing drugs. I am a clean fighter and I will do whatever it takes to prove this to everyone."
Added Overeem: "Friends and fans, I ask for your patience as I work through this matter. Please support me. I promise to return to the Octagon soon."
The random test was conducted around a March 27 news conference in Las Vegas. Dos Santos and fellow heavyweights Mir, Cain Velasquez, Roy (Big Country) Nelson and Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva all passed their tests.
Overeem (36-11-1) made his UFC debut Dec. 30 at UFC 141 when he knocked out Brock Lesnar in the first round for the right to meet Dos Santos.
Overeem, a star in Pride, Strikeforce and K-1, arrived in the UFC last year with baggage. And his pre-Lesnar fight drug test took weeks to be carried out to the Nevada commission's approval.
Eventually Overeem passed three urine tests and one blood test surrounding the Lesnar fight.
Overeem got his license to fight in Nevada but the drug test drama — and his change in body type over the years — left people talking.
Overeem used to fight at 205 pounds as a light-heavyweight, walking around at 215-220 pounds. Now he is right at the edge of the 265-pound heavyweight limit.
The Dutch fighter, who now lives in the U.S., attributes the weight increase to strength and conditioning training and diet.
Overeem is unbeaten in 12 fights, a stretch dating back to a September 2007 loss in K-1 to Sergei Kharitonov.
The UFC has tried to combat illegal drugs, testing fighters when they sign contracts. Commissions also do random testing in addition to tests around fights.
NOTES — Mark (The Machine) Hominick and Eddie Yagin each won a US$65,000 fight of the night bonus for their bout Saturday night at UFC 145 in Atlanta. A bloody Yagin won a split decision. Heavyweight (Big) Ben Rothwell picked up $65,000 for knockout of the night in stopping Brendan Schaub. Heavyweight Travis Browne collected the $65,000 submission of the night bonus for his arm triangle victory over Chad Griggs.