Ever since he defeated Brock Lesnar on Dec. 30, 2011, on what appeared to be the crowning night of his life, things have gone in the wrong direction for Alistair Overeem.

On March 27, 2012, the day he arrived at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas for a news conference to announce a fight for the UFC heavyweight title, Overeem failed a random drug test administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Upon his return following a nine-month suspension, he fought sluggishly on Feb. 2 at UFC 156 and was knocked out by Antonio Silva in the third round of a bout he was expected to win easily.

He's been off another six months, meaning he'll only have fought once in more than 19 months when he climbs into the cage on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 26 at TD Garden in Boston to face Travis Browne.

After his loss to Silva, Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting reported that Overeem's testosterone levels were dangerously low. Meltzer reported that Overeem's testosterone level was at 180 for the match against Silva, far less than the 400 figure that is considered normal.

A testosterone level that low would explain the fatigue and sluggishness that Overeem displayed in the bout.

But his low level proved somewhat curious, because Overeem was suspended nine months earlier after having a greatly elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T:E) ratio. Overeem was 14:1 when he was surprise tested by Nevada, more than three times the state's legal limit of 4:1.

One cause of the kind of low testosterone levels Overeem showed in the Silva fight is hypogonadism. However, that condition is extremely rare in otherwise healthy males between the ages of 18 and 40 (the age range of the vast majority of pro MMA fighters).

Another potential reason for a low testosterone level is previous steroid use. When a person takes steroids for a prolonged period, the body shuts down natural production of testosterone and, as a result, the person will need to take exogenous testosterone to make up for it.

That puts Overeem in a very difficult situation against Browne. He needs to show that his sluggish performance against Silva was simply a bad night, and not the result of his body shutting down production of testosterone because of previous steroid usage.

If he looks sluggish or listless again, it's going to lend credence to the allegations of PED use that have been frequently levied at him.

Overeem has always vehemently denied cheating, and insisted that his failed test was the result of a mistake by a doctor, who gave him a shot to help heal an injury.

He goes into the Browne fight facing a public increasingly skeptical of athletes who cheat. There hasn't been the kind of public outcry among fight fans as there has been among baseball fans, but at least it is on the radar and pressure is increasing on the sport's regulators to contain it.

Overeem has kept a low profile since losing to Silva and hasn't had much of a media presence prior to the match with Browne.

That's not good, because he's an articulate, engaging guy who has plenty to offer. A successful Overeem changes the entire face of the UFC's heavyweight division, as well.

There aren't a lot of names in the Top 10 who are keeping champion Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Junior dos Santos awake at night. Daniel Cormier is expected to drop to light heavyweight after his October fight with Roy Nelson, and there are plenty of question marks about the others.

But with Overeem healthy and successful, there are a series of great matches that could be made.

Overeem had an air of cockiness about him that infuriated some and engaged others, but it made people want to see him fight. He was almost disdainful of Silva prior to their bout, and was speaking openly of a title fight.

He looked foolish when he did little against Silva and then was knocked out. But his pre-fight words were brazen.

"It's just a matter of time in my sense," Overeem said on Jan. 28, 2013, during a pre-fight conference call. "We still have one more mountain to climb, [and] that's Bigfoot. But to be honest, I do not see any problem and then, yes, it's going to be an exciting day."

Rather than getting that title shot, Overeem is on the comeback trail yet again. He's 8-1 with one no contest in his last 10 fights and yet is being inundated with questions about whether his success is the result of hard work and natural talent or if it's mainly attributable to PED use.

Being linked to PEDs can't be helping him keep and attract sponsors. The suspicions refuse to die because the massive change in his body, the 2012 failed test and then the sluggish effort with the low testosterone levels in the Silva fight are seen by some as evidence of regular PED use.

But if, as he continually says, he's truly innocent and only failed a drug test because of a questionable doctor, he deserves to be exonerated once and for all and celebrated for his talent.

That is why there's probably nobody on the card on Saturday who needs a dominant win and then a clean drug screen more than Alistair Overeem.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Nick Newell proves he's ready for prime time
Conor McGregor has gone from food stamps to Dana White's stamp of approval
Georges St-Pierre is paying for more stringent drug-testing out of his purse
Nik Lentz used bonus money to pay for father's life-saving surgery

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Rony Jason threatens to sue CABMMA if proven innocent of failed drug test

  • 25 days ago

Rony Jason tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide following his first-round submission victory over Damon Jackson at UFC Fight Night 67 on May 30, but will appeal the result. The Brazil read news >>

Nick Diaz legal team expected to present case for failed drug test to NSAC in September

  • 25 days ago

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Nick Diaz and his legal team are gearing up for a hearing in front of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to answer for a failed drug test (marij read news >>

Rony Jason to take legal action against CABMMA if failed drug test is overturned

  • 23 days ago

Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Rony Jason expects to sue the Brazilian Athletic Commission (CABMMA) if his failed drug test at UFC Fight Night 67 is reverted by Las Vegas doctors. Forme read news >>

Twitter reacts to Gilbert Melendez's failed UFC 188 drug test and suspension

  • 21 days ago

Just nine days’ prior to his scheduled bout with Al Iaquinta, Gilbert Melendez received news that he’d tested positive for banned substances following his recent loss to Eddie Alvarez. See how social read news >>

Al Iaquinta reacts to Gilbert Melendez's failed drug test, scratch from UFC Fight Night 71

  • 21 days ago

Al Iaquinta's roller-coaster road to UFC Fight Night 71 ended in disappointment on Monday. After losing original opponent Bobby Green to injury, Iaquinta abruptly lost his replacement opponent when f read news >>

Al Iaquinta benched following Gilbert Melendez failed drug test, wants to 'slam his head against the desk'

  • 21 days ago

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Al Iaquinta has been pulled from the upcoming UFC Fight Night 71 mixed martial arts (MMA) event on FOX Sports 1, scheduled for July 15, 2015 read news >>

Dodger Montano Suspended Following Positive UFC 188 Drug Test

  • 10 days ago

Augusto "Dodger" Montano failed his UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum post-fight drug test and has subsequently been suspended. read news >>

Controversy surrounds Pedro Munhoz’s failed drug test at UFC Fight Night 54

  • 5 days ago

Pedro Munhoz stopped Jerrod Sanders in 39 seconds this past October, but there’s some controversy still surrounding his post-fight drug test. Munhoz vs. Sanders took place in the preliminary portion read news >>

Legend of 'Scarface': How Jose Aldo's latest withdrawal could impact his legacy (Yahoo Sports)

  • 27 days ago

From Yahoo Sports: Aldo's rib injury was preventable, which makes it even more maddening for UFC president Dana White. read news >>

California Commission Drug Tests Nearly Every UFC Fight Night 71 Fighter

  • 27 days ago

Another piece of evidence came Wednesday that the MMA community is getting more serious about forcing illegal drugs out of the sport. The California State Athletic Commission drug-tested nearly every read news >>