MMA Chael Sonnen Defends Alistair Overeem Over Steroid Test

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Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Chael Sonnen recently defended UFC heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem against allegations of anabolic steroid use. Overeem record an elevated testosterone: epitestosterone (T:E) ratio prior to a UFC146 press conference. Sonnen asserted that Overeem did not test positive for anabolic steroids during a segment on “UFC Tonight” called “Chael’s Corner”.

“Alistair Overeem did not test positive for anything. End of story. So why is his name getting drug through the mud?” asked Sonnen. “Why are they saying, ‘Well, he’s got an elevated T-to-E ratio. OK, fair enough. Let’s say his T-to-E ratio is outside the norm. That’s not illegal. That’s outside the norm. If it’s not against the rules, why are we having this conversation? MMA Media: Ya failed!”

While technically, Sonnen is correct in stating that the T:E ratio test doesn’t directly detect the presence of any banned steroids, the T:E ratio screen is recognized as a putative indicator of exogenous testosterone use. An elevated ratio in both an A and B sample are sufficient evidence of steroid use to justify a ban by many sports organizations and athletic commissions.

Sonnen may be correct in stating that an elevated T:E ratio is not illegal or prohibited BUT ONLY in cases of fighters on prescribed TRT therapy. All individuals on TRT are likely to produce an elevated T:E ratio even when testosterone is used at therapeutic dosages. So, the T:E ratio is useless at the detection of doping in TRT patients.

However, an elevated T:E ratio IS clearly against the rules in cases on MMA athletes who are not on TRT. And there has been no evidence to suggest that Overeem is being treated for hypogonadism by a doctor with testosterone replacement therapy.

Overeem recorded a 14:1 testosterone ratio in advance of his scheduled appearance on the main card at UFC 146 on May 26, 2012. The positive steroid test would prevent him from participating.

Overeem’s T:E ratio exceeded the 6:1 ratio used as a cutoff by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Approximately 99% of all individuals have a T:E ratio under the allowable limit of 6:1.

UFC middleweight contender Sonnen has direct experience with the T:E ratio test. He appealed a one-year suspension after testing positive for testosterone at UFC 117. Sonnen admitted using the steroid testosterone a part of a doctor-prescribed testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) protocol. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) was sympathetic to his argument and reduced the suspension to six months.

Overeem has not yet publicly provided an explanation for his elevated T:E ratio test. He is scheduled to appear before the NSAC on April 24, 2012 to offer his defense.

 Chael Sonnen


Hodges, M. (April 18, 2012). Chael Sonnen Defends Alistair Overeem, Blames Media for Steroid Allegations. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1151409-chael-sonnen-defends-alistair-overeem-blames-media-for-steroid-allegations