As ambitious as it was to put together the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, it has been anything but smooth. The latest bump comes off of a rumor that if true, could practically kill the entire idea. Alistair Overeem may not only be pulling out of the tournament, but could be leaving Strikeforce altogether.
[adinserter block=”2″]The latest MMA rumor spreading like wildfire says that Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is not only pulling out of the Grand Prix, but that he will relinquish his championship and sign an official UFC contract. The rumor was posted on a message board that posted news about the Lesnar UFC 131 cancelation before it was announced, thus giving this rumor a little more attention than usual.
When UFC president Dana White said that it would be “business as usual for Strikeforce”, he obviously meant the instability and frequent changes to matchups. There were many in the MMA world that believed the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix would either never see a final fight or wind up new participants similar to the Super Six before the tournament’s end. If these rumors are true, my prediction is that this tournament is finished and the UFC will slowly start to swallow the heavyweights for its division.
This is the post that has been buzzing throughout the MMA community. I am posting directly from the story so don’t blame me for the grammar and spelling.
“Allistar Overeem has had A rocky relationship with the coker regeime… Allistar was not happy with coker dicking him around with the fedor fight that was promised to him… Also Not happy with the long layoff between the rogers fight and some contractual matters… Coker extended an olive branch in obtaining Valentjn overeem to smooth t
Now the next part is rumor there have been rumblings and info changing daily on this… My sources are tight lipped… But the overeem vs werdum fight is not guaranteed… Ive asked about injury but zuffa has been coy with info being leaked…
Ive been told dont be surprised if overeem pulls out of the tournament and relinquishes the championship… Overeem could possibly be crossing over to the ufc… This would make the Tournament finals for the championship and makes a debut ppv more interesting… This as i said is rumor i know there have been talks and the fight is not cancelled and is still official but was told dont be surprised… This can change daily so I will try too keep updated with more info as I find out more but its not a guaranteed more to come.”
As crazy as the rumor may be, it actually does make a lot of sense. It is true that Alistair Overeem was frustrated with Strikeforce. There were flirtations in the past between Overeem and the UFC. Overeem’s international commitments were reportedly the biggest holdup in getting a deal done. With K1 & DREAM practically on life support, the international fights are not a priority anymore for Overeem. Cashing in now, while in his prime with the UFC makes a lot more sense than risking a potential big contract in the future by coming up short in the tournament.
Zuffa, LLC owns Strikeforce and the contracts. It wouldn’t take much for Zuffa to come in, void Overeem’s contract, and immediately sign him to a UFC deal. For Zuffa, it also makes all of the sense in the world. Dana White just watched his biggest draw in Brock Lesnar retreat to the sidelines for what appears to be at minimum a year. Without Lesnar, there are no potential big draws against Cain Velasquez. Why not move Overeem over to make up for the loss of Lesnar? Between his reputation and the Strikeforce and Pride FC library, the UFC could have a blockbuster with Overeem vs. Velasquez as well as other potential Overeeem fights.
[adinserter block=”1″]Please understand that this is only a rumor. However, there have been rumors about Overeem pulling out of the Grand Prix for months now. At one point Shane Carwin was rumored to be taking his place. The rumor grew so fast that Carwin had to take to Twitter to deny it. With all of the people involved in training, fight camps, sponsorships, management, and marketing it is much easier to get leaked information early from the UFC than it is in most sports. I heard about Lesnar’s injury for a week prior to the announcement and even tweeted about it. This whole idea is certainly plausible.
I would guess that if Overeem pulls out of the tournament it is over. Maybe Strikeforce pits Brett Rogers vs. Fabricio Werdum for the vacated title in June (leaving the headaches of booking Josh Barnett behind them) or moves all of its heavyweights over to the UFC? Either way it would seem rather moot to continue with the Grand Prix without Fedor or Overeem.
Again this is all rumor, but it is certainly a rumor that has a lot of people talking.