There’s been some confusion in recent days regarding Alistair Overeem’s involvement in this coming weekend’s DREAM 15 event in Japan.
Reports last week, stemming from DREAM themselves, suggested he was set to face Ricco Rodriguez, but his manager later denied that was the case. Further reports implied the matter had been resolved and the fight would go ahead after all, but it’s now been confirmed that is not the case.
Today Alistair Overeem wrote to MMAfighting.com to clarify exactly why he won’t be fighting at the event.
“After my Brett Rogers fight on May 15, I decided to take time off and do media appearances — MMA expo in Canada, E3 expo, Strikeforce events — and enjoy some time off with my family. I knew Dream wanted me on the show, but I didn’t want to go back in training preparation. Then, they offered me a fight against Andrei Arlovski for the Dream heavyweight title. As I have said on occasions, fighting for a belt means something more, and I wanted that Dream title so much that So as a result, I agreed to lay off my media and holiday plans, and went back to training.
“During my training I found out that Andrei Arlovski was not going to be my opponent, and they changed opponents numerous times. I’ve heard names like Tim Sylvia and Minowa. At one point, I received notice that they had found a opponent but that the Dream heavyweight title was not on the line anymore. With all the changes and the title fight no longer a possibility, I simply had to turn down the opportunity.
“The next day, I immediately took a flight to San Jose to hype up my possible fight against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko or Fabricio Werdum. I then heard rumors that Dream had booked me in a fight against Ricco Rodriguez. I want to make it very clear that I never verbally agreed to fight him and I never signed a contract with Dream to fight him. I feel very sorry for Ricco Rodriguez’s camp if they still think the fight is on, and I apologize to my fans that have bought a ticket to see me compete. I hope this statement has shed some light on the unfortunate situation.”
In all honesty it’s perhaps surprising that this sort of thing isn’t happening more often in the DREAM promotion. Their habit of appearing to throw fight cards together at the last minute and chopping and changing opponents has never seemed like a sound way to do business.
Hopefully they can learn from this and are able to improve going forward, but with rumors of severe financial difficulties it appears that the Japanese promotion is currently skating on thin ice.