As expected, Alistair Overeem will not compete at UFC 146, but in his first statement since failing a drug screen on March 27, the Dutch heavyweight promised to return to the Octagon “soon.”

Through Authentic Sports Management, Overeem on Monday officially announced his withdrawal from UFC 146. The former Strikeforce heavyweight king was scheduled to appear before the Nevada Athletic Commission on Tuesday but has instead elected to request a postponement of that hearing.

“I am deeply saddened to announce that on Friday, April 20, I respectfully withdrew from the May 26 event so that I can request a continuance until my situation with the Nevada State Athletic Commission is resolved,” Overeem said in the statement. “I cannot express how sorry I am to the Commission, Junior dos Santos, the fans, the owners and employees of the UFC, my friends and family and anyone else who this has affected.

“I absolutely do not believe in, nor do I use performance-enhancing drugs,” he continued. “I am a clean fighter and I will do whatever it takes to prove this to everyone.”

Following a pre-fight press conference to promote UFC 146, six fighters scheduled to compete on the card -- Overeem, dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva -- were tested randomly. While the other five competitors’ tests came back negative, Overeem submitted a sample with a testosterone to epitestosterone ratio of 14-to-1, more than double the allowable ratio of 6-to-1.

In his statement, Overeem blames the result on a prescribed medication he took to treat an injury he suffered before the March 27 press conference.

“Prior to the UFC 146 press conference in March, I aggravated an old rib injury on my left side. My doctor prescribed, and I accepted, an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone,” Overeem said. “I was completely unaware that testosterone was one of the ingredients in the medication. Although I was unaware, I do realize it is my job to know what I am putting into my body.”

For a while, it appeared as though the UFC was going to wait on Overeem’s originally scheduled April 24 hearing before making decisions regarding the May 26 card, but on Friday night Dana White announced on Twitter that Frank Mir would take Overeem’s spot against dos Santos in the UFC 146 main event. The main card shuffling continued on Sunday, as it was determined that Silva would move to the co-main event -- the spot Mir had vacated -- to take on Velasquez.

Overeem became the No. 1 contender at UFC 141, when he defeated Brock Lesnar via first-round technical knockout at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Overeem had been asked to submit a pre-fight urine sample prior to that Dec. 30 bout, but he was unable to do so immediately due to travel between the United States and the Netherlands. Later, Overeem submitted a sample to an approved testing facility in the United Kingdom and was cleared to fight on the condition that he would be subjected to two random tests after that bout.

“I respect the Nevada Commissioners and Executive Director Keith Kizer and what they are doing to keep the sport of mixed martial arts regulated and safe for athletes. I look forward to working with them in the days and weeks ahead,” Overeem said. “Friends and fans, I ask for your patience as I work through this matter. Please support me. I promise to return to the Octagon soon.”

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