Friday's main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem almost didn't make it through barriers at the athletic commissions. There's an awful lot to the story to consider, and a lot of questionable decisions from more than one person, but with those things having passed and things calmed down a little, it's worth taking another look at what happened. Most of the issues were with the athletic commission, which once again proved its woeful incompetence, something that will eventually be a very big problem in the sport.
It's really hard to say whether or not Overeem should have been granted a license. The fan in me wants to be very excited for the brawl we're almost guaranteed to see on Friday, while the other part of me questions the handling of Overeem's testing. Overeem left the country on the same day that the commission requested a test sample to make sure he hasn't been taking any illegal substances before his fight with Lesnar. His explanation was that he bought the ticket two days prior, and an assistant failed to notify him.
Then, Overeem gave a blood test, which is generally better than a urine test that the commission requests, but he had it administered by a private doctor and had it delivered very late. I don't think I need to explain to you why an unsupervised test shouldn't be admissible. The whole point of commission-supervised testing is to ensure that there's no fair play involved.
Either way, the commission granted Overeem a temporary license pending further testing (which appears to be all good at this point), and that's where the issue is. Whether you believe that Overeem was taking illegal substances or not, you have to wonder how a governing body like this commission lets this kind of thing slide with nothing more than a simple hearing in which they seek only to put Overeem in the corner for a short period of time.
It doesn't help that the commission had no idea what they were doing during their hearing. They had asked Overeem if this was his first fight at heavyweight, even though he's been at this weight for years. How can this commission, while putting on a hearing they scheduled not know about the fighter who has the most pressing issue from the hearing?
Call it outrage if you want, but call it outrage over the commission. The sport of MMA is growing, and growing rather fast - this kind of thing should be a lot bigger news than it is. It probably was overlooked because Overeem is such a beloved fighter. It is quite true that we get a great fight out of it and that Overeem had legitimate reasoning to leave the country.