Sports

The Alistair Overeem-Strikeforce Grand Prix Conspiracy

The UFC continues its mission to destroy Strikeforce by the end of the year with the heavyweight Grand Prix being its latest target. Cutting Alistair Overeem from the Grand Prix has not only killed the tournament, but will go down as one of the biggest fails in company history.

I was irate when I read the news yesterday posted here by Camel Clutch Blog writer Brett Clendaniel that there were issues with Zuffa/UFC/Strikeforce and Overeem. According to Brett’s blog on Monday, Strikeforce threatened to cut Overeem completely from the tournament if he couldn’t make the September date.

What’s going to happen next, I don’t know,” Overeem told MMA Fighting. “I’ve had some threats of cutting me out of the tournament if I don’t participate. I don’t know if they’re going to do it.

The champion was upset at the threats considering the reason he couldn’t make the date was an injury. Overeem even threatened to box in October if he was cut. A few hours later Dana White told the media that Overeem had officially been cut from the tournament.

Sept. 10 was the date Showtime wants us to go, so it’s the date we’ve got to go,” Dana White said. “It’s unfortunate that Alistair is unavailable, but situations like this are why there are alternates in the tournament.

Strikeforce and White claim that the reason they cut Overeem from the tournament is that because it would be unfair to Showtime to move the next round. MMA reporter Dave Meltzer reported on his F4Wonline.com podcast that Showtime had no available Saturday dates in October for the show. Is this really a case of Dana White sympathizing with Showtime or is this a case of White sabotaging his own tournament to send Showtime a message?

I can’t even comprehend the sense it makes to proceed without your biggest draw in the tournament just so you could make the next date. Yes I understand injuries happen all of the time in tournaments but it wasn’t as if Overeem was asking for an extra three months. He was asking for a month. I would be a lot more sympathetic to Strikeforce if they didn’t delay the tournament a few months ago to more or less commission shop Josh Barnett. When you can delay the tournament four months for a guy popped for an unlicensed fighter popped for a PED test and can’t delay the tournament four weeks for your champion, something is wrong.

This follows a month after Showtime reportedly blocked the UFC from booking Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz on a UFC event. The UFC responded to Showtime by cutting Diaz from his Strikeforce contract and re-signing him as a UFC fighter. In a matter of weeks the UFC have now pulled two of Showtime’s biggest three draws out of Strikeforce or Strikeforce events. Call me crazy but I think there is more than meets the eye here.

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And back to Overeem. I have read comments that some MMA fans mocking Overeem for complaining over an injured pinky toe. Even Dana White had the nerve to take a pot shot at Overeem over his injured pinky toe.

Overeem is under contract, and when his pinky toe heals up, we’ll get him another fight.”

Hey, let Dana White prepare for 8 eight weeks on a broken toe to fight Antonio Silva and then let me know how that works out. How is a guy supposed to get his cardio right when he can’t run on one foot? Most of us aren’t professional MMA fighters but we have all had broken toes and if you have, you know how limited you are on your foot with a broken toe.

Does Dana White or Strikeforce really believe that pulling Alistair Overeem from the tournament is the best answer here? Of course not. Either one of two things are going on here. One, the UFC is afraid that Overeem will lose and are protecting him. Two, the UFC is pulling a power play with Showtime and are hoping that at some point Showtime becomes so upset that they cancel their Strikeforce contract and allow Zuffa to broadcast Strikeforce as it pleases. What do you think?

Dana White says that Overeem is still under contract to Strikeforce. According to Meltzer, Overeem only has one fight left on his deal. Meltzer did say that a championship clause would keep Overeem under contract as long as he has the championship, but he wasn’t sure whether or not Overeem even had such a clause. Jake Shields didn’t, so it isn’t as if you could assume that he does. If I am Overeem I am feeling screwed big time this morning and looking more into those boxing plans.

This whole thing stinks on a lot of levels. As an MMA fan I am pretty irate today. I feel robbed that MMA fansI won’t see the finish of this Strikeforce tournament as planned. Yes things happen but this is something that didn’t have to happen. If the alternative was Grand Prix without in September or Grand Prix with Overeem in November, I don’t think anyone would have complained about the added two months.

Instead, everyone loses and the destruction of Strikeforce continues.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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