Strikeforce’s heavyweight division is in danger of turning into a shambolic mess with the news that their current champion Alistair Overeem is now set to compete in the upcoming K-1 tournament. If he is successful in that then it will keep him occupied from October through to December, effectively pushing him out of the Strikeforce picture until 2011.
The news emerged on the same day that M-1 Global suddenly decided to release a press statement claiming that they wanted their fighter Fedor Emelianenkoto face the champion before the end of the year. It was later reported that M-1 were also demanding olympic style drugs testing before such a fight would take place.
Responding to the developing situation hours later Overeem stated that he is no longer seeking a fight with Fedor.
“I’ve stated many times that Strikeforce was my number one priority, but after Fedor lost to Werdum, I had no intention of fighting somebody other than Werdum. I came to the States to challenge the winner of the fight and that was Werdum, so no need to fight somebody else,” Overeem told MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani.
The champion admits that if something had been said earlier he may not have committed to the K-1 event, and suggests that the timing of M-1 Global’s announcement is a little suspicious.
“Do they really need two months of thinking and negotiating? I think it’s a little strange to be honest. If Fedor challenged me right after the fight it would have been something to take in consideration.”
As well as appearing critical of M-1 Global, Overeem also criticizes Strikeforce, suggesting that their biggest rivals, the UFC, do a better job of matchmaking.
“If you co-promote with people that have their own demands it’s hard to make good and logical fights. If you look at another big MMA organization in the States, you can see that they have a clear road map of who’s fighting who and which fighters are entitled to get a shot at the championship belt. Having a clear virtual ranking is one of the reasons they are successful because they can hype fights.”
In the end it’s Strikeforce who get the short end of the stick here. Their champion is about to go AWOL overseas again, while M-1 Global could well head back to Plan B – looking to set up an interim fight for Fedor Emelianenko outside of Strikeforce at the end of the year – now that the Overeem fight is off the table.
Strikeforce officials had apparently been hoping to set-up a fight for Overeem or Fedor with Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, but it seems that neither fighter has any desire to fight this lesser name opponent. Instead it looks as if they are going to squabble over who gets the first shot at Fabricio Werdum when he returns from injury instead, and that’s an argument that could turn ugly very quickly.