After the news that Alistair Overeem has been removed from Strikeforce’s roster despite still having one fight left on his contract the question on everyone’s lips now is what will happen to the popular heavyweight fighter next? In this article we’ll weigh-up his main options.
First things first Overeem will need to heal up after the latest edition of his ‘The Reem’ blog, which was posted hours after news of his release broke, revealed that he is suffering from a broken rib that’s taking longer than expected to heal.
Earlier this week it was announced that his next fight is likely to be for his management Golden Glory’s kickboxing event ‘United Glory World Series’ in October against an opponent that has yet to be confirmed.
Beyond that is where things get interesting. There’s no doubt that Overeem is now the hottest free agent on the market so there will be a wide variety of options available to him.
It could well be that he turns his focus back to kickboxing now that the two biggest promotions in MMA, the UFC and Strikeforce, appear to be a no-go following his fallout with Zuffa.
If so his timing is good as it was announced earlier this week that the financially troubled K-1 organization with whom he is the current heavyweight tournament champion, have been bought over by a Japanese real estate firm. It remains to be seen what they do with it, but the hope is that this will lead to greater stability for the promotion, and if they do go ahead with another heavyweight tournament then Overeem is almost certain to be involved.
Overeem does still have options in the mixed martial arts scene as well however. He is for instance still the current DREAM heavyweight champion, and though the promotion has also been struggling recently they have started to put on events again and with Japan being almost a second home for the fighter there’s a strong chance he could return their to defend his title.
There are other alternatives though. For instance if he wants to continue his affinity with the Asian martial arts scene then the new ‘One FC‘ promotion who have strong financial backing and are aiming to become a major player in the sport could be a good fit.
Meanwhile UK promotion BAMMA who showed they mean business recently when they acquired former UFC fighter Nate Marquardt – the previous ‘hot property’ on the market – could also be interested in acquiring his services. Overeem was in fact born in the UK, and with BAMMA being the leading European MMA promotion at this moment in time that could be an appealing option for the Dutch fighter.
ProElite are also looking to make an impact as they look to reboot their franchise, and after recently acquiring the services of former UFC and Strikeforce heavyweight fighter Andrei Arlovski they’ll surely be interested in the idea of pairing him up with Overeem if a deal can be made.
strong>Bellator, who are currently nestled behind the UFC and Strikeforce as the third major force in MMA are of course also an option. Overeem would be their biggest signing yet and their tournament format could appeal to him, but the question is whether they will be willing to pay the money to get him on-board. They’ve already shown they won’t be held to ransom by passing on Nate Marquardt, but Overeem would be a more marketable asset.
Oh, and we can’t round up the available MMA options without going down the conspiracy theory route and asking whether Overeem’s cut from Strikeforce is purely a tactical move by Zuffa to enable him to sign with the UFC. Personally I’m not buying that idea though stranger things have happened.
The final option for Overeem is one that he himself has claimed he’s seriously considering – making the switch to boxing. He has a lofty ambition to fight the current dominant forces in heavyweight boxing, the Klitschko brothers, but the question is would they actually be interested in fighting him?
While Overeem is a well known name in MMA he doesn’t hold the same value outside of the sport, and given that he wasn’t fighting for the most recognisable organization, the UFC, boxing promoters may struggle to see the value in such a fight.
Instead it may be that he has to work his way through the ranks if that is truely his ambition, and with there being little interest in the heavyweight boxing scene at this moment in time it’s doubtful that there would be the financial rewards involved that would make this a viable option for Overeem.
Overall I think the most likely option is that Overeem will do what he’s done in the past and make Japan his main focus. That’s where he’s spent a large portion of his career, and with his current ties to both K-1 and DREAM as a champion it makes sense for him to return there.