(Overeem, pictured here shortly after eating the 2003 version of himself.)
After winning his second meaningless fight via standing guillotine choke in as many weekends, Alistair Overeem voiced his desire to fight Fedor Emelianenko in April of 2010. Beyond just the specificity of that request, what’s interesting is that he followed up by saying that if he had his choice he’d rather do the fight in Dream than in Strikeforce. Not surprisingly, Dream’s Keiichi Sasahara would prefer that too, saying, “I’ll do what I can to make that happen in the near future.”
Wouldn’t that just be a kick in the pills for Scott Coker and his crew? They go to all this trouble to sign and then promote Fedor through their CBS connections, and they spend over two years waiting for Overeem to come back and defend his heavyweight title, and then Strikeforce’s new partner threatens to swoop in and steal the fight.
The hell of it is, Overeem/Fedor might turn out to be a much bigger fight in Japan than in the U.S. Emelianenko still isn’t a proven draw here, while Japanese fans would pay to watch him fight a meatball sub (especially if it happens to be New Year’s Eve). Overeem’s recent dalliances in K-1 and Dream have led to a ton of exposure in Japan, while American fans would likely have to see an all new series of vague promotional videos to know what a big deal he is. After all, the guy hasn’t fought on U.S. soil since 2007. It’s not as if your average American sports fan spends a lot of time on Dutch MMA forums.
At the same time, unless they get a ton of money to give up the fight to their buddies in Dream, this would be a colossal screw job for Strikeforce. They’re the ones spending the time and effort building up Fedor-awareness in the states, and they’re the ones who’ve been patiently waiting for their prodigal champion to return. Even if their fans might not go quite as apeshit as Dream’s for this bout, it just doesn’t seem right for them to lose it now that it’s finally within sight.