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After nine-month suspension for high testerone levels, fighter Alistair Overeem licensed in Nevada

The heavyweight will fight Antonio Silva to highight UFC 156 over Super Bowl weekend at Mandalay Bay

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Sam Morris

Alistair Overeem answers a question during a news conference Tuesday, March 27, 2012, to advance the all-heavyweight card at UFC 146.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday unanimously licensed mixed martial artist Alistair Overeem for his Feb. 2 fight against Antonio Silva in UFC 156 at Mandalay Bay.

Overeem last year tested positive for testosterone levels higher than those permitted by Nevada athletic regulators, forcing him out of a UFC 146 fight last spring against Junior dos Santos and, ultimately, a nine-month suspension from the commission.

The heavyweight Overeem, who appeared before the commission at the Grant Sawyer Building in downtown Las Vegas, told commissioners he learned from his mistakes. He passed random tests given by the commission in November and December.

“I came before you to show myself in person,” he said. “We’ve done everything we could to correct ourselves from the errors that were made. I’m ready to get my life back on track and get fighting.”

Overeem’s return will surely be one of the highlights of the UFC’s Super Bowl weekend card — one of the group’s top shows.

“Congratulations. Welcome back to Nevada,” said Bill Brady, the commission chairman.

Jay Hieron was also licensed by the commission to fight in UFC 156. The 36-year-old Hieron, and all fighters over the age of 35, are required to pass medical test as part of the license requirements. Hieron, a Las Vegas resident who also appeared, is slated to fight Tyron Woodley.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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