With the term “Golden Gate” referring to more than a historic bridge in San Francisco over the past week, it was only a matter of time before the publc heard from the man whose release from Strikeforce kicked off Zuffa’s professional separation from Holland’s Golden Glory gym – Alistair Overeem.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight champ sat down with HDNet’s “Inside MMA” where he discussed the circumstances surrounding his newfound free agency.
“I was promised personally by Scott (Coker) that the second round of the Strikeforce Grand Prix was going to be held in October,” Overeem began when asked about his adamant opposition to fighting a month earlier as was eventually requested of him. “Well that all changed. I heard about two-and-a-half weeks ago that they wanted to change the date to September 10.”
“The reasons are unknown,” he continued before speculating that the decision may have been related to the UFC holding other events in October and attempting to avoid competing against their own programming.
Overeem went on to explain injuries he’d suffered against Fabricio Werdum in June prevented him from training, a fact he relayed to his bosses only to be told he would be removed from the tournament if he wasn’t able to compete when required. Then, after again communicating his inability to properly prepare for his quarterfinal fight against Antonio Silva, the Dutchman said the “threat” changed to him being dropped from the roster entirely.
“I said, ‘Well then go ahead and cut me,’ and they went along and cut me.”
Questioning whether he’d made his decision hastily, “The Demolition Man” opted to see a doctor and make sure the damage was as bad as he believed. It turned out things were actually worse when an X-Ray revealed a broken rib requiring an additional month of recovery time (documented on video).
“The strange thing is Strikeforce they cut me…but they didn’t ask me for any medical evidence. I don’t know what they were thinking. Maybe they were thinking I was bluffing or something. I don’t know.”
Answering to critics who felt he may have been using his injuries as leverage in contract negotiations, Overeem quickly dismissed the notion though admitted it would have been a “golden situation” to be in the Grand Prix final without a deal in place. He also revealed the extension he was originally offered to stay involved an exclusivity clause meaning he would no longer be able to compete in K-1 or DREAM.
The conversation ended with Overeem expressing his interest in eventually fighting in the Octagon, alluding to Junior dos Santosand Cain Velasquez as opponents he’s interested in facing, but saying he didn’t know if it would ever happen at this point.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE