A stark glimpse of the future.
Things move pretty quickly in the MMA game. It was less than two weeks ago that Alistair was ousted from the tournament after declining to contest his semi-final bout a month earlier than previously discussed. Three days ago, Overeem exercised his right to fight in other organizations and announced his participation in an MMA bout scheduled for October in Moscow. And last night Inside MMA dropped the bombshell that “The Demolition Man” has been served his pink slip by Zuffa officials.
At this point, we have very little information from either side of the fence. The latest short film uploaded to TheReem.com reveals that, in addition to the previously disclosed broken toe, Overeem is sporting a fractured rib which prevented his participation on the September Strikeforce card. We also know that the champion had only one fight remaining on his contract, meaning a victory over Antonio Silva in the tournament semi-finals would have granted him incredible bargaining power in the ensuing contract negotiations. If you think the details of his release are murky, just think about what this means for his immediate future.
Overeem still has several options outside of the Zuffa empire, and as an MMA fan I can tell you that they all suck. His fight in October may offer a quick glimpse of the future, in which Overeem fights a never ending series of lopsided battles in Japan and second tier organizations, leaving a path of wanton can destruction in his wake the likes of which we’ve never seen. Another possibility is that he eschews the whole “mixed” martial arts thing in favor of something more traditional, like say defending his belt in the recently sold K1 or trying his hands at Marquess of Queensberry in a Russian roulette boxing match against Vitali Klitschko. Either way, we may never get the answers as to how The Reem stacks up against the best of the MMA world.
And what exactly does this mean for Strikeforce, beyond losing its second champion in two months? The HWGP had already lost plenty of steam from its initial promise. With Fedor, Werdum, and recently Overeem exiting the tournament after the first round, the remaining bouts seem a bit anticlimactic, but even then we could at least look forward to the HWGP champion potentially challenging Alistair for the belt. Now that option is gone. So will the tournament champion automatically become the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion? If so, the tournament effectively killed any interest in his upcoming matches, as his first defense would either come against the man he just defeated to win the belt or against someone who wasn’t good enough to advance to the finals in the first place. It took awhile, but this is pretty much what we expected to unfold.
The good news in all of this? No matter what you think about Overeem, you can argue his place in the heavyweight rankings forever with very little evidence to prove you wrong; we’ve even provided a comment section below for that process to begin.