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Monday, December 12, 2011
Alistair Overeem gets license in Nevada

By Brett Okamoto
ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- Alistair Overeem will meet Brock Lesnar in the main event of UFC 141 on Dec. 30 as scheduled.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission granted Overeem a one-year conditional license Monday, despite ongoing complications the heavyweight fighter has with submitting an out-of-competition steroid test.

The license will stand depending on three factors.

First, Overeem, who is currently training overseas, will submit a urine test at a facility upon his return to the United States later this month. Secondly, that test, of course, must be clean.

Finally, he will submit to at least two random urine tests conducted within a six-month time frame post-fight.

Out-of-competition testing was brought back by the NSAC in July after funding issues eliminated the program in 2009. It allows the commission to randomly test fighters in addition to the typical pre-fight and post-fight tests.

According to NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer, the commission sent its request for a random drug test to both Overeem and Lesnar on Nov. 17. Lesnar's test result was obtained by the commission Nov. 21 and came back clean.

Neither Overeem or his team responded to the commission's request until Nov. 21. According to the fighter, the delay was because he returned to Holland from Las Vegas due to an illness in the family.

"My mother had previously had cancer twice, the most aggressive type," Overeem told the commission via phone. "She was cured from that after two years of cancer treatment. She just did a check up test, which detected suspicious cells."

According to a timeline given by Overeem and his camp, the fighter flew out of the states Nov. 17 -- the same date Kizer requested the random drug test. At that time, Overeem had not received the message a test was required.

The fighter said he was informed of the necessary test the following week and submitted to a drug test Nov. 23, which produced clean results. Another problem ensued, though, as he submitted a blood test and not the specific urine steroid panel the commission requests.

"Although the things they tested for are indicators toward steroid use and it came back normal, the doctor did not order the correct test," Kizer said.

Kizer immediately informed Collin Lam, Overeem's manager, of the error and requested a urine test -- which Overeem eventually submitted, but not until Dec. 7. At the time of the NSAC meeting, the results of that test were still not available.

At one point in the hearing, commissioner Pat Lundvall asked Overeem if he had at any point taken effort to put off the drug test.

"I did not take any effort to avoid testing," Overeem responded. "Furthermore, I have done exactly what I was told to do, which was told to me by my assistants, as directed by Keith Kizer."

The NSAC attempts to test randomly selected fighters within a 48-hour period of notification. Any longer than that, they run the risk of certain substances leaving the athlete's body.

Overeem (35-11) has never tested positive for any performance-enhancing drug. Rumors of potential use became public, however, after the heavyweight underwent a visible transformation athletically in 2009.

Rumors of his complications obtaining a license hit the mainstream in recent days, prompting the UFC to go so far as plan on a replacement. Sources close to ESPN.com confirmed Monday the promotion inquired on the availability of Frank Mir.

The UFC 141 main event fight against Lesnar is the first of a multi-fight deal Overeem signed with the UFC earlier this year. He's previously held titles in Dream and Strikeforce.

The complications regarding his case will likely produce more concrete guidelines in place by the NSAC for out-of-competition testing. As commissioner Bill Brady put it, "I don't think anyone on this commission wants to do this again."

Brett Okamoto covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.