The UFC have finally brought an end to the uncertainty surrounding May 21st’s UFC 146 event by confirming that Frank Mir will now step in to replace Alistair Overeem in a fight for the heavyweight title against current champion Junior Dos Santos.
The decision comes just days before Overeem was set to attend a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing in an attempt to explain why he failed a pre-fight drugs test recently and convince them to grant him a license to fight at the event.
The fact that the UFC had hesitated to remove him from the event combined with Overeem’s camp declaring that they were confident he would be granted a license had lead to a general feeling that the originally planned bout was going to go ahead as planned, but for reasons that remain unclear the UFC have decided to take him out of the equation.
Former heavyweight champion Mir, who had originally been slated to fight Cain Velasquez in the co-main event of the same card, had made it clear from the start that he was more than happy to meet this new challenge if required, and was the most obvious replacement for Overeem given that he’s currently on a three-fight winning streak that includes wins over the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson and most recently Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Of course that leaves Velasquez without an opponent for the time being, and it’ll be interesting to see whether there’s a chance they would opt to put Overeem up against him if he is granted a license at Tuesday’s hearing.
While the switch to Dos Santos Vs Mir is unlikely to capture fans imaginations in the same way that Dos Santos Vs Overeem had this announcement does allow the promotion to move forward with a clear conscious as it would have looked bad if Overeem had still been allowed to fight for the belt despite having failed a drugs test.
Removing his chance to fight for the title shows that they are taking the situation seriously regardless of any potential legal or medical loopholes that Overeem’s representatives may try to exploit early next week.