On Monday a major story broke on Ariel Helwani’s ‘MMA Hour’ show when Alistair Overeem revealed that a disagreement with Zuffa over the timing of his next fight in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand-Prix was putting his place in the tournament in jeopardy.
Just hours later Strikeforce announced that Overeem had now been pulled from the grand-prix, with Daniel Cormier stepping in as his replacement.
Today Overeem once again spoke with Helwani to give his first reaction to this decision.
“Of course I’m disappointed. Winning the tournament was my number one goal. I understand their position, but they have to understand mine, and I’m disappointed we couldn’t work it out,” Overeem said via the MMAfighting website.
According to Dana White the reason Overeem was withdrawn was due to the fighter’s claim that he had an injured toe, but according to the current Strikeforce heavyweight champion it wasn’t a major issue.
“It’s not that bad, otherwise I would have canceled because of that injury alone. It’s more that my body isn’t pain-free, there are minor injuries but they prevent you from training 100 percent.”
Overeem says the real reason he declined to fight on the September 10th card was simply that he had already made other plans based on an October date that Strikeforce originally gave him for his bout with Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva.
“Strikeforce promised me a date in the fall (October/November), I acted on it and chose to go on holiday and start my training in August. Zuffa/Showtime then decided to do it in September and then the ball was in my court, and I had to decline because I know it’s too short of time to be prepared 100 percent Instead of postponing the event they decided that the show must go on and use one of the alternates.”
Overeem says he now hopes to fight the winner of the tournament for the title at some stage in the future, but as for right now he’s not spoken to Zuffa about the situation and has now idea when he’ll compete for Strikeforce next.
One way or another he does expect to fight in October however as he had originally planned.
“I like to be active, and like I told you, I will be ready according to the first date we agreed with Strikeforce and that is in October.”
Read more of Overeem’s thoughts at MMAfighting.com.