Results have come back from drug tests administered to UFC 156 fighters, and they indicate that heavyweight Alistair Overeem's testosterone levels were below normal.
The event at the start of the month was Overeem's first since he began his nine-month drug suspension and it was marked by an embarrassing KO at the hands of Antonio Silva in the third round.
But those speculating how a drug-free Overeem would fair already saw the consequences of the low testosterone during the weigh-ins for the fight. One blogger on MMA Freak described him as a much "softer" Overeem to the one that defeated Brock Lesnar more than two years before.
According to MMA Junkie, Overeem not only passed the UFC 156 drug test, but his testosterone levels were in fact well below the lower range for the average male.
"[Overeem's] testosterone total level actually fell below the normal range of 250-1,100ng/dL," said MMA Junkie. "Overeem's total testosterone came in at 179 from the test, which was administered the morning after the fight at 8:25am on Feb. 3."
The low value could explain this "softer" Overeem.
The Dutch fighter, who has spent most of his career fighting untested in Japan at light heavyweight, shocked everyone as he ballooned to a heavyweight behemoth with next to no fat. Speculations of suspected steroid use only grew louder after he missed a drug test in the run-up to his first UFC fight against Brock Lesnar.
The failed test in his next fight confirmed all the suspicions.
But now, following his first loss in over five years, his testosterone levels seem to have fallen far below normal.
The question now is whether this is a sign of his years of steroid abuse, or overtraining in the run up to UFC 156. His languid, almost disinterested performance on the night, hardly suggests it was the latter.
One bit of "good" news Overeem could draw from this, however, is that he could now have a legitimate claim for a therapeutic use exception for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), allowing him to use steroids legally. But whether a fighter who has been found to be a drugs cheat should be allowed to use TRT is sure to spark fierce debate.