(Video: NBC Sports)
Ten days ago today, Marloes Coenen hopped out of the shower to the sounds of a ringing phone and the shocking news that she, Valentijn Overeem, and John Olav Einemo would be joining teammate Alistair Overeem in the unemployment line. For the record, I’m not entirely sure about the shower part, but that’s how I like to envision it going down. Just as the whole he said/they said battle between Dana White and Team Golden Glory seemed to be heating up, the Pinkberry smudged door to the Zuffa offices may be creeping back open to the Netherlands-based team.
Dana White broke Ariel Helwani off a few minutes of his precious time to talk about a myriad of subjects, most interesting of which was his reaction to Golden Glory manager Bas Boon‘s public desire to meet all of Zuffa’s concerns, including direct payments to fighters and an exclusive contract with Alistair Overeem: “Well that’s awesome. If that’s the true story and that’s what he said, sounds like we can make a deal then…If Bas Boon is saying that this is the way we can do it, then we can absolutely, positively make a deal and we can get this ball rolling again.”
Though he appeared willing to move beyond whatever was behind the mass-firing, Dana didn’t relent from his position that the cuts were simply a matter of different business practices between the parties and nothing more: “I don’t give a shit what they tweet, what they take pictures of, or what they say, they fucking know exactly how it worked and we would not do it that way.”
Dana does come across as candid in this interview, but he strains credulity by stating that “one thing that I don’t do, I wouldn’t go [out] there and lie to all you guys.” In case you’ve forgotten his fondness for fibs, historical revisions, and stretches of the truth, keep watching the video. Not a minute later White responds to Ariel’s question about his having been in contact with Bas Boon since the termination with a pause, a gulp, and a barely audible “Yup”, similar to how you answer your girlfriend when she asks if any of your exes were at Steve’s party last night. You want to say, “No, I hate those skanks”, but the way she asks the question it almost seems like she already knows the answer, so you can’t risk the lie. I know that “Yup”; I’ve given that “Yup”; it’s the “Yup” of a man reluctant to tell the truth.
In other Golden Glory news, ESPN’s Josh Gross reports that Alistair is technically still very much the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. Rather than cut Overeem directly, Zuffa exercised a clause in in his contract which essentially allowed them to deduct the last fight from his deal for turning down a September fight in the Grand Prix Tournament semi finals. The two parties have entered into a 120 day exclusive negotiation period; if they fail to come to terms, Zuffa will have another 120 days to match any potential offers from outside promotions. A “Champion’s Clause” will prevent the Dutch fighter’s participation in a bout scheduled for October. Even if Overeem stays within the Zuffa umbrella, it’s not entirely clear which organization he’d end up fighting for. Dana asked, “To be in a position where Alistar can come over and fight in the UFC- why would I not do it?” It’s a good question. Let’s hope we get the answer soon.