We reported earlier today the Alistair Overeem was set to fight Ricco Rodriguez at DREAM 15 next month. Just hours later it’s been revealed that not only has that bout been scrapped, but Overeem’s future in the Japanese promotion is also in doubt.
The news comes from Overeem’s trainer Martin De Jong who spoke to mmajunkie.com about the situation today.
“Right now, I can just say he’s not going to fight Ricco, and he’s not sure if he’s going to fight in DREAM,” De Jong says before further clarifying, “I didn’t get any contract, and Alistair didn’t agree, so it’s not going to happen.”
According to the site De Jong says that there are certain issues with DREAM which he refused to discuss that have led to the current situation.
There’s definitely more to come about regarding this story. In all honesty I was surprised when DREAM announced that the Overeem Vs Rodriguez bout was taking place considering what Sherdog reporter Loretta Hunt wrote following a conversation with Overeem at the conclusion of the Strikeforce event last Saturday.
“Overeem said he cancelled a promotional trip to the U.S. for Strikeforce’s June 16 and June 26 events to dive back into training for a heavyweight title bout at Dream 15 on July 10,” Hunt reported. “When the Japanese promotion cancelled the championship fight on Friday, Overeem booked a 20-hour flight and made it cageside just in time to watch the fight he’s chased for the last year with Emelianenko go up in smoke.
“I’m still a little bit shaken from (the cancelled Dream bout). I booked the flight to here, 20 hours, and then this happens,” Overeem told Hunt.
my own suspicion is that money issues are at least partly involved here. There’s been rumors for quite some time that DREAM are having significant financial issues, and there’s plenty of evidence to support that theory.
Recent events have been low on star power, a scheduled event in South Korea was canceled, the light-heavyweight tournament was delayed and though it does now take place at DREAM 15, only features four fighters feature in it, when at least eight had been anticipated.
If Overeem does choose to part ways with the promotion then it will undoubtedly be a blow for the promotion. The Dutch fighter has had a significant role to play in the promotion, fighting three times since June of 2008 at DREAM 4, plus also featuring in the Dynamite!! 2009 end of year show.
De Jung is believed to be preparing for talks with DREAM about Overeem’s future later in the week. Meanwhile Rodriguez is still expected to compete at DREAM 15 against an opponent still to be decided.