What Next For The Heavyweight Division After Alistair Overeem Drugs Test Failure

Alistair Overeem Fails Drugs Test

Former K-1 Grand Prix and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and current number one contender to the heavyweight title Alistair Overeem has failed a random drugs test it was announced today. Overeem along with all other main card fighters were tested at a press conference in Nevada to promote the UFC 146 pay per view and ‘The Demolition Man’s’ sample came back showing an elevated level of testosterone, a result that indicates the illegal use of testosterone as a performance enhancing substance.

Alistair Overeem has been dogged by allegation of PED ever since he moved up to heavyweight and began adding significant muscle mass at an unusually late stage of his adult life. This positive test result comes off the back of controversy surrounding his last fight with Brock Lesnar. Overeem was licensed to fight at UFC 141 after failing to provide a timely sample for a pre-fight drugs test only on the condition that he took two random tests following his fight with the former UFC champion.

While there is a remote possibility that the test result is shown to be a false positive, perhaps following the testing of the ‘B’ sample Overeem provided at the same time as the one that has shown elevated levels of testosterone, it is highly likely that his eagerly anticipated title fight against Junior Dos Santos will be cancelled.

Frank Mir Should Be Next For The Title Shot

Should that happen then the UFC will no doubt scramble for a replacement challenger for what will be Junior Dos Santos’s first ever defense of his new heavyweight title. Luckily the all-heavyweight main card gimmick gives them plenty of possible contenders. Early reports suggest that the UFC sees former champion Cain Velasquez as the man ready to step into Overeem’s spot, but this would surely be a mistake. Velasquez has not fought since dropping the title to Santos in November and while he may have battling numerous injuries he still lost to the Brazilian in just a minute. As good as he is, Velasquez needs to win at least one fight before he can once again be considered a credible challenger.

Instead the UFC should look to the man Velasquez was scheduled to face at UFC 146, former heavyweight champion Frank Mir. While Mir has not exactly been setting the heavyweight scene on fire he has won his last three fights and a resume of Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is nothing to be sneezed at. And with the brutal nature of his victory over Nogueira still fresh in everyone’s mind there’s a natural grudge between Mir and the champion, with Nogueira being Dos Santos’ trainer and mentor.

Mir has also made clear his readiness to step up, if needed. “I would be excited if given the opportunity to compete for the UFC’s heavyweight title at UFC 146 if the reports released earlier today regarding Alistair Overeem failing his ‘A’ sample drug test are true”. He added, “I have been fortunate to be able to fight in the UFC for more than a decade, and it is a dream of mine to become the first three-time heavyweight champion in the UFC. Being able to fight Junior Dos Santos would put me one step closer to that dream”.

A Division Still Divided

So prevalent are the sanctioning bodies in boxing that many of the sport’s most dedicated fans long ago ignore the claims of bodies such as the World Boxing Council or World Boxing Association to instead argue that he who beats the champion is the champion.

MMA fans may not realize this when they sit down to watch the latest UFC blockbuster event but unique amongst the organization’s seven divisions, the heavyweight champion does not have an undisputed claim to be the one, true heavyweight champion. Since Randy Couture left the organization in 1997 without losing his heavyweight title the lineage of the oldest championship in the sport’s history has been broken, with Couture twice losing in Japanese rings before returning to his old stomping ground inside the Octagon. As reported by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, starting with Enson Inoue the lineal title would stay in Japan until eventually it was unified with the Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight title. It would remain Fedor Emelianenko’s bragging right until he lost to Fabricio Werdum.

With his victory over the Brazilian grappler last summer Overeem added the hypothetical lineal championship to the very real gold that already adorned his waist. His fight at UFC 146 against Junior Dos Santos would have brought to an end a rupture in the lineage of the sport’s most prestigious title that has endured for almost as long as the sport itself has existed. With that fight now in doubt, the doubt about whom is the true champion many continue for some time to come.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,