On April 4th of this year, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer made it known that Alistair Overeem failed his pre-UFC 146 drug test. Whereas the allowable ratio for Testosterone/Epitestosterone (T/E) is 6:1, Overeem produced a ratio of 14:1. Overeem’s own manager, Glenn Robinson, has seemingly acknowledged that, at the very least, his guy’s T/E ratio was “off.”
Before we move on, it’s important to make sure that we’re all on the same page: in order to pass the test, your results cannot exceed the allowable ratio. If you have elevated levels of testosterone in excess of the tolerable 6:1 ratio, you’ve failed said test. Not passing something is the same as failing it.
This is not a particularly difficult concept to grasp, but some seem to be having trouble anyway.
On this week’s edition of UFC Tonight the most unspoken man in MMA, Chael Sonnen, came out and blasted the media for getting it wrong in their reporting of the Overeem situation. Via 5th Round:
“Congratulations, MMA media. Right when I think your incompetence cannot get to any higher level, the Alistair Overeem story comes out. From you kids on the interwebs, running your little dot-coms from the couch in your mother’s basement, to you beneficiaries of Mark Cuban’s tax write-off, you’ve gone and screwed up the Alistair Overeem case beyond all belief.
“Is it repairable? I doubt it. Hey, if I’m a member of the media and somebody tells me that Alistair Overeem failed a drug test, the very first thing I’m going to say is, ‘Really? What substance did he test positive for?’ You see, those basic questions are where the wheels begin to fall off the bus for this entire story.
“Alistair Overeem did not test positive for anything. End of story. So why is his name getting drug through the mud? Why are they saying, ‘Well, he’s got an elevated T:E ratio.’ Ok, fair enough. Let’s say his T:E ratio is outside the norm. That’s not illegal. That’s outside the norm. That’s a red flag. That is a red flag, and Alistair will owe an explanation. If it’s not against the rules, why are we having this conversation? MMA media, you failed!”
It’s important to note: Sonnen has had his own very well documented experiences with failed drug tests.
Back in August of 2010, a drug test conducted for his bout versus Anderson Silva found that his T/E ratio was 16.9:1. He was subsequently fined and suspended. During the appeals process, Sonnen indicated that he had medical justification (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) for his elevated results. There were disputes about the validity of that excuse, but that’s not what’s important here. Rather, what’s important is the fact that when Sonnen’s ratio came back in excess of the allowable amount, he was punished for it. You know, because when your results come back higher than what's acceptable, you’ve failed.
On Wednesday night, after reading about Sonnen’s strange position on how the Overeem situation has been covered, Victor Conte (yes, that Victor Conte) offered his own take.
Chael Sonnen says "Alistair Overeem didn't test positive for anything. End of story" Sonnen is clueless about the case tinyurl.com/6oauscc— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) April 19, 2012
I asked him to elaborate on that point, and here is what he said:
@agroberman Chael Sonnen has claimed that an elevated T/E ratio is not against the rules. My opinion is that he is dead wrong— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) April 19, 2012
@agroberman Chael Sonnen was found to have an elevated T/E ratio.Was he suspended? That's basically my response— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) April 19, 2012
Conte is entirely correct, of course. The reason that people get punished for elevated T/E ratios is because having elevated T/E ratios is against the rules.
Again, it’s strange that we’re even having this debate. This isn’t a situation where we’re arguing something that’s MMA-specific. It’s not even drug test-specific. It’s basic, 1st grade logic. If you don’t pass a test, you’ve failed that test.
That’s why they suspend you for it.
Sonnen should understand that better than anyone else.