Overeem’s firing is actually a surprise to some of you?
As you all know, (by now you must know, if you don’t then we are breaking the news to you, act surprised) StrikeForce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem was let go from his StrikerForce contract, by Zuffa most likely. I highly doubt this was a decision made by Scott Coker.
I was having a conversation with another MMA website operator when the news broke, he expressed amazement at the news. Amazement! Surprise even, heavens to mergatroid. Surprise? Honest Surprise? It dawned on me he probably represented the general majority in this matter. After a little poking around on the web, it turns out he was. People just can’t believe he was let go, they can’t believe that the Great Overeem was sent packing, Ubereem, The Demolition Man, the greatest HW since Thor, I could go on and on here.
The general MMA public is astonished cause Overeem’s been such a stellar employee, what with his multiple title defense’s, consistent StrikeForce fight schedule, the way he cleared out the HW division and his overall dominance of the StrikeForce HW GP…oh wait a minute, he didn’t do any of those things. NOT ONE OF THEM!
Overeem’s firing was not a surprise to me, that it took till July 22nd of 2011 was the surprise. I expected him to be let go sometime in the first 2 months after Zuffa purchased StrikeForce. Precisely for the reasons I will get to. When Zuffa failed to fire him, I expected the scenario of events to unfold exactly as they did, with the expected results. The writing was on the wall long ago. The signs clear as day. Each event signaled the end.
Lets break this down. He has defended the StrikeForce HW belt 1 x in 4 years, fought for Strikeforce 3 x’s in 4 years, yet he has had 24 fights since 2007 (24 F23King FIGHTS- 24!) outside of StrikeForce. Soon to be 25 (I’m including K-1). I’m not gonna start shouting PED allegations at Overeem, however I will point out that of his 27 fights since 2007, only 3 have been in a country with mandatory drug testing. Something to marinate on, regardless of whether Overeem is juicing or not, it’s still a strange coincidence. Also a clear sign of his disinterest in winning over the North American MMA fan contingent.
It doesn’t take a private detective to put the clues together. Alistair has held StrikeForce over the barrel for 4 years. He’s defended the HW belt only once in that time, yet, he has fought consistently for Dream and K1 throughout the past 4 years. Dana White stated recently in an interview with SI that he was done with the nonsense from fighters, he was gonna make some changes and get the UFC back on track. It should be pretty clear to everyone Overeem was one of the fighters he was referring to. (Expect some fighters from the same teams to be forced into bouts or be cut in the next 3-6 months another stern warning) Overeem tried to force a new contract negotiation, started talking about boxing the Klitschko’s (a highly unlikely scenario, never the less he tried using the Nick Diaz tactic to no avail), bad mouthed Zuffa in the press, repeatedly. He then followed that up with outright threats, scheduled a fight for October, even after citing injury as the reason he couldn’t make the September GP bout StrikeForce schedule him in, to be clear, he was notified of the September date well in advance. After Dana White spoke on the topic, effectively putting it to rest, Alistair proceeded to state the exact opposite in an interview only hours later. Dana White holds grudges, hates BS and has not had much good to say about Overeem ever, then take a look at Overeem’s last bout, not a stellar performance, okay to be honest, it was a poor performance by UFC’s standards (and by most fans as well, count me as one), especially for a HW champ with the pedigree of Overeem. StrikeForce was too lenient with its fighters for years, not able to put together the fights fans wanted to see because the fighters refused to fight, Dana White does not allow this type of nonsense, he pays fighters to fight, the only way out is through injury. Dana needed to send a message, a clear message, and Overeem offered him the perfect opportunity. Hendo and Fedor are going to be the next message.
Those of you out there who think this was a ‘grudge’ firing are not seeing the big picture, the writing was on the wall all along, because Overeem was costing the company money. Not just in his inflated salary, but in operating costs. The time and effort, money not withstanding, required to put on an event the size of a StrikeForce event is tremendous. Imagine how much more is required for the GP? Insert a highly paid fighter who pulls out at the last moment, several times, doesn’t allow the matchmakers the ability to set proper fights in the division because they are unsure if they will be able to pit the best those bouts produce against their erstwhile Champ. We are talking millions and millions of dollars in revenue and operating costs wasted, on one man. One man. Get it yet?
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Next your gonna tell me that the UFC isn’t gonna absorb StrikeForce the day Showtimes’ contract runs out. Surprise Surprise!
Rumble young man Rumble.