Alistair Overeem Denies Steroids Responsible for Muscular Physique Transformation

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UFC heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem has frequently faced accusations of anabolic steroid use as the explanation for his dramatic transformation from a 205 pound middleweight to a 260 pound heavyweight mixed martial artist.

Overeem has explained the muscular metamorphosis by telling Sports Illustrated that he has always been a behemoth heavyweight. He just avoided lifting weights and dieted severely so that he could suppress his body weight and compete at 205. When he stopped dieting and started eating he grew to his natural body weight of 260 pounds.

“I was already a heavyweight basically…but I was still fighting at 205 [pounds], which meant dieting, and I couldn’t do strength and conditioning training,” according to Overeem.

Overeem became subject to the Ultimate Fight Championship steroid testing rules when he signed a contract with the UFC on September 6, 2011. He was scheduled to meet Brock Lesnar as the main event card of UFC 141 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on December 30, 2011.

This month, rumors surfaced that the UFC main event may have been cancelled due to a failed steroid test by Overeem. As it turns out, Overeem didn’t actually fail the anti-doping test. He never took it.

Overeem was supposed to submit a urine sample on November 17, 2011. Instead, he left the United States for his home country of The Netherlands – presumably to care for his ailing, cancer-striken mother – after buying a plane ticket less than 48 hours earlier.

He tried to submit a blood test (via his personal physician in Amsterdam) on November 23, 2011. It was rejected. A urine sample was required, not a blood sample.

He tried to submit a urine sample (again via his personal physician) on December 7, 2011. It was rejected. The sample acquisition needed to be performed by independent anti-doping personnel.

Of course, the UFC isn’t the Olympics and they don’t need to follow the super-stringent doping rules set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) called Overeem for an “investigation” and determined there was no harm done. The NSAC seemed to blame Overeem’s assistant, Collin Lam, for the failure to comply with the required testing procedure. The NSAC hearing has been described as a farce by some observers.

Overeem simply needed to submit a urine sample as soon as possible at a NSAC-designated testing location in order to make things right. It didn’t matter that it was over three weeks late. The NSAC would go ahead and grant him a conditional license to fight Lesnar at UFC 141.

Overeem finally provided an acceptable sample on December 13, 2011 when he flew to London (from the Netherlands) specifically to satisfy the NSAC requirements. The results are pending.

“I’ll be tested four times in three weeks this month, so after this, there cannot be any more doubts,” Overeem said the day following the steroid test. “The thing is, I’ve fought in the States before and every time I got tested, I’ve never tested positive. So I don’t where all [the speculation about steroid use] is coming from. I’m too focused on my career, and I don’t really pay attention to these messages.”

The suspicions of steroid use by Overeem were already strong due to the appearance of his physique. The latest drug testing gaffe has only made matters worse when it comes to the public perception of Overeem as a steroid user.

 UFC Alistair Overeem


Cofield, S. (December 12, 2011). Lesnar vs. Overeem still on! NSAC grills ‘The Reem’ over tardy drug test, but grants a conditional license. Retrieved from

Fowlkes, B. (December 14, 2011). Alistair Overeem’s uneasy road. Retrieved from