UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem was granted a new fight licence Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, making his UFC 156 bout against Antonio Silva on Super Bowl weekend a go.
The 32-year-old Dutch fighter had passed five voluntarily submitted drug tests as well as two blood and urine tests requested by the commission.
Overeem last fought in December 2011 when he defeated former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar by first-round TKO at UFC 141. The bout was his UFC debut and the win earned him a title shot against then-champion Junior dos Santos on May 26 at UFC 146 — the promotion’s first all-heavyweight main card.
However in the lead-up to the event last April, Overeem failed a drug test in Nevada, upsetting plans for the scheduled championship matchup. His urine sample tested unacceptably high for testosterone — at a 14-to-1 testosterone to epitestosterone ratio — and the commission imposed a sanction preventing him from reapplying for a fight licence for nine months. His licence to fight at UFC 141 had just been a temporary one.
In testimony before the commission Tuesday, the 32-year-old said he was ready to get his life back on track. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Overeem said he had replaced his medical staff and corrected other errors.
Chairman Bill Brady said he was glad the UFC heavyweight contender had used his time out of the cage to get his career back on course.
The licence will allow Overeem to fight at the Feb. 2 show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where his bout against Silva will be one of the featured matchups on the main card. UFC 156 is headlined by the featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
NOTES: A couple of newcomers have been added to the card, the UFC has announced. Isaac Vallie-Flagg will make his debut in a lightweight bout between Yves Edwards, who is coming off a Knockout of the Night win against Jeremy Stephens. Meanwhile, Chico Camus will welcome undefeated top prospect Dustin Kimura in a bantamweight scrap.
– With files from THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and UFC.com