(Props: MMA Fighting)
Alistair Overeem successfully avoided the perils of getting too high over his dominant beatdown of Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery on Saturday night, as the heavyweight champion compared the thrill of victory to … coming in third in the 2005 Pride Grand Prix? Yeah, when asked by seemingly omnipresent reporter Ariel Helwani (video above) at the post-fight media conference if he considered the defeat of Rogers among the best moments of his career, Overeem responded by rattling off pretty much his whole resume of combat sport accomplishments.
"I would say I’ve had several really high points," Overeem said. "This definitely is one of them. I defeated the K-1 champion Badr (Hari), that was a really nice accomplishment. Once I beat (Sergei) Kharitonov, he was the second (ranked fighter) of Pride back in early 2006, that was a really good accomplishment. I became third of the Pride Grand Prix, that was a very good accomplishment. In 2007, I also became the Strikeforce champion, that was a good accomplishment."
As if Brett Rogers didn’t have enough depressing shit to deal with today, now he has to face the reality that beating him feels similar to tying with Wanderlei Silva as second runners-up in a tournament held five years ago. With no time for losers however, the MMA media is rapidly moving on to speculating about a future matchup between Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko. Overeem said he thinks it will happen, if those meddling gangsters in M-1 Global don’t sabotage the negotiations.
"Fedor himself (is not ducking me)," Overeem explained. "Fedor himself is a true warrior, I respect him a lot, he’s a true champion … his management however, they have accused me of steroid use. They are ducking me, they are putting all sorts of barriers to not having the fight happen. They are the obstacle, Fedor is not the obstacle."
Given that "Heavy Artillery" didn’t devolve into a massive in-ring brawl while delivering a slate of good – if not great – fights, it has to be considered something of a success for Strikeforce. Company CEO Scott Coker agreed, telling Helwani he was glad the company waited more than two years for Overeem — the "prodigal son" – to return. Provided Fedor defeats Fabricio Werdum in June, Coker said he’ll "have a serious conversation" with Emelianenko’s management about a fight with Overeem.
"Can I guarantee it? Absolutely not," Coker said. "We’ll sit down with M-1 after the next fight with Fedor and we’ll have that conversation with M-1."
Other news and notes from the CEO:
** Coker hasn’t talked to Jake Shields since April 17 but said other Strikeforce officials have spoken to the middleweight champion. He said they’ll pick up contract negotiations again next week. Did he think it was inappropriate for Shields to show up on camera bro-ing down with Dana White at WEC 48? "You’d have to ask Jake," Coker said. So that means yeah, he did.
** Cris "Cyborg" Santos will defend her women’s title against someone named Jan Finney in June. Regardless of Erin Toughill’s recent Facebook rant about the living conditions in Strikeforce, Coker said she "just wanted to take some time off" and could return this summer.
** Jacare Souza was unhappy with his performance in victory over Joey Villasenor, but Coker said he thinks Souza is transforming into a top MMA fighter. Just one without cardio.
** Andrei Arlovski will be back … but he might have to make wholesale changes in his lifestyle and training first, the CEO said.
** Roger Gracie will spend the summer focused on the ADCC grappling championships, then will return to Strikeforce in (maybe) August. I know you’re all pumped about that.
** There are some lingering hurt feelings surrounding Lyle Beerbohm’s split decision win over Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro … but naturally Coker didn’t see the whole fight, so he couldn’t comment on it. Beerbohm may face Josh Thompson next, if he can overcome an arm injury suffered against Ribeiro.
** Coker stopped short of saying Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante’s win over Antwain Britt had earned him a shot at moneyweight champion Muhammad Lawal. Coker would say only that it was "a step in the right direction." Feijao might have a rematch with Mike Kyle coming his way first.
Matt Ricehouse def. Gregory Wilson (Rear-naked Choke, 0:45 of Rd 3)
Thomas Aaron def. Eric Steenberg (Guillotine Choke, 0:56 of Rd 1)
Francisco France def. Lee Brousseau (Rear-naked Choke, 1:27 of Rd 1)
Michael Chandler def. Sal Woods (Rear-naked Choke, 0:59 of Rd 1)
Darryl Cobb def. Booker DeRousse (Split Decision)
Lyle Beerbohm def. Vitor Ribeiro (Split Decision)
Jesse Finney def. Justin DeMoney (Guillotine Choke, 3:22 of Rd 1)
Rafael Cavalcante def. Antwain Britt (KO, 3:45 of Rd 1)
Roger Gracie def. Kevin Randleman (Rear-naked Choke, 4:10 of Rd 2)
Antonio Silva def. Andrei Arlovski (Unanimous Decision)
Alistair Overeem def. Brett Rogers (TKO, 3:40 of Rd 1)