Alistair Overeem explains his absence from Dream 15Posted on June 19, 2010, 09:58 PM by Joey Santosus
On Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour" Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem discussed his decision to not participate in Dream 15. Following his absence from the July 10th event rumors began to swirl as to why the Dutchman had declined a spot on the card, including an explanation offered by his would-be opponent Ricco Rodriguez, who said that he felt the Strikeforce champ was not willing to risk defeat.
Overeem, however, shrugs off such suggestions, citing miscommunication as the primary cause of the bout's failure to materialize. After a busy year, Alistair says he was only willing to fight if the title was on the line. However, as fight night drew near, the status of the bout changed. With no title on the line and an unranked fighter as opposition, he says he was no long motivated and pulled out of the match well in advance.
"I did eight fights in eight months," Overeem said. "There's a max, you know. So I needed to take time off and let my body recover, and what happened was, I'd just got back from the states and my management already told me, 'Yeah, you have a fight coming up in Dream.15, they want you.' I told them, I'm tired. I need a holiday. The only reason for me to recharge and go back into training camp is if it's for the title. That's an opportunity I don't want to go to waste."
"A couple days later my management confirmed the fight, it was going to be for the title, against Andrei Arlovski. Well, what happened then was I was totally motivated, got my team back together, my sparring partners, got back into camp, and then after two week I heard that Andrei Arlovski is injured, he's not fighting."
While a handful of replacements were considered, Alistair says he was assured that whomever he faced, it would be for the Dream heavyweight title.
"I asked on several occasions, is this for the title and is it confirmed? My management said yes, it's for the title and it's confirmed. So I kept training. Two and a half weeks into training...my management called me and told it's going to be Ricco Rodriguez and it will not be for the title. Then my motivation just totally was lost. I could still make it to see the Fedor fight, so I said, yeah, I'm going to go to the states and I'm going to challenge Fedor, the winner of the fight between Fedor and Fabricio Werdum. I cancelled the fight then and there."
Overeem also discussed the next step in his career, while he is not sure where his next fight will take place, he expressed interest in partaking in the K-1 finals this fall.
“You also have the K-1 Final Grand Prix at the end of the year. …I have qualified for the final 16. I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to compete, but I would like to compete. K-1 is striking, I like it, it has a little bit different audience. It’s very popular in Holland. So yeah, I want to become champion. I see myself as champion.”
Overeem last defended his Strikeforce heavyweight title at Heavy Artillery in May, defeating Brett Rogers by TKO just three minutes and forty seconds into the first round. While there has been no official word on who the champ will face next, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently hinted that a non-title bout with Fedor Emelianenko was one of a few possibilities currently being considered.