Alistair Overeem and the State of Japan

Alistair Overeem and the State of Japan


This is always a sensitive topic for hardcore fans of Mixed Martial Arts and combat sports, the state of Japan and what exactly is going on in the Land of the Rising Sun. There was a time, not too long ago when being a MMA fighter or an elite Kickboxer fighting in Japan really truly meant something. When PRIDE FC was at the top of the food chain and K-1 was the home of the finest strikers. Combine raw skill with technique, mix it with a bit of pro wrestling swagger, add fireworks, flashing lights, epic music, a screaming lady, and you have a Japanese combat sports event. Fighting was the hottest ticket in town and everyone wanted to be a part of it. Some of the greatest fighters in both MMA and Kickboxing got their start or made their name in Japan. Rightfully so, considering that the nation is the birth place of many different styles of Martial Arts.

Today, JMMA and K-1 like many of their biggest stars are now mere shells of their former selves. It seems like the glory days of selling out the Saitama Super Arena and Tokyo Dome are now over.  DREAM and Sengoku are having trouble staying on cable and keeping sponsors, some of their biggest draws have jumped ship to the UFC and other American based promotions. Even the K-1 World Grand Prix, a staple in Japanese culture didn’t have the same appeal as it did in previous years. To make matters worse, the parent company of DREAM and K-1, FEG has been having trouble paying its fighters. Names like Gary Goodridge, Bibiano Fernandes, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Andy Souwer are just a few people that were either paid really late or not paid at all, but no name bigger, then the name of Alistair Overeem.

The Heavyweight King of Combat Sports made an appearance on ESPN MMA Live with Jon Anik and announced to the world that he hasn’t seen a dime from winning the K-1 WGP. With the latest rumors of K-1 filing for bankruptcy, will Alistair Overeem or any of the other fighters who haven’t been paid yet ever get the money they worked hard for? Not paying Alistair what he is owed is a huge mistake, considering he currently is the biggest draw in Japanese combat sports today. Not to mention his affiliation with the legendary Golden Glory camp. If you don’t pay “The Reem”, K-1 could potentially say good-bye to best Kickboxers to ever step into the ring. Do you think they would want to fight for K-1 if they get paid late or not at all? Of course not, nobody wants to work for a company like that.

As a hardcore fan, it breaks my heart reading the latest news and rumors in the Japanese fight scene. Many of my all-time favorite fighters come from the world of JMMA and K-1. I wish none of this was true, but in a way these rough times could be good for future Japanese Promotions. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start, maybe these promotions need to destroy themselves in order to rebuild. It is time to start again from square one, this time with new owners, new people who could possibly take the sport to the next level again. Unfortunately, the biggest issue holding back the big combat sports promotions in Japan is the ties to the seedy criminal underworld. No big company or cable channel wants to be involved or be associated with any element of crime. Right now these are some dark and tough times to be a Japanese Mixed Martial Arts or K-1 fan; hopefully we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only for the good of the fans, but for the good of the fighters that leave it all on the line in the ring.

  • Jamie Kennedy

    Man, it sucks that Overeem has yet to be paid for that historic accomplishment, I’m sure it’s a nice pay check he should of picked up…. plus on top of that if K-1 file for bankruptcy, Overeem will never see a penny of what he’s owed. Which is very poor considering what he achieved.

    And I do believe this will be the downfall of JMMA… I’m not happy about it, but it looks like a harsh reality thats coming closer and closer evry day. Any article I’ve read lately has been basically about how bad a state FEG are in right now;financially.

    I think what you said in the post might be the right way to do it RCV….. start from scratch….

  • Ryan Ventura

    I hope I’m right man, I’m just optimistic.

  • David Saucier

    Good piece, something diff from the normal around here.

  • David Saucier

    Yeah for all u people that say Alistar dosnt want to be in the UFC when he has all these belts in these other organizations that arent even paying him. UFC and SF seem to be the only stable organisations. I bet my years salary Alistar wil be in the UFC within 3 years

  • Zadok83

    “The Heavyweight King of Combat Sports”? Lol. He hasn’t beaten high level HWs in SF and UFC (the two largest MMA promotions), so that statement is a fallacy. And no, Brett Rogers is not what I would call a high level opponent.

  • Ryan Ventura

    Name any other MMA fighter that could accomplish what he did. Seriously.

  • Zadok83

    Junior Dos Santos.

  • Ryan Ventura

    LMFAO I’m curious do you know the difference between K-1 caliber striking and MMA?

  • Zadok83

    Yes “Mr. Patronizer” I do. I’ve seen many great K-1 fighters, my favorite being Remy Bonjasky in his prime. Being great at K-1 doesn’t mean you are “The Heavyweight King of Combat Sports”. There is much more than striking in MMA.

  • Ryan Ventura

    Well obviously there is, I’m not stupid, and that’s why I’m wrote this piece. Overeem not only is a world class striker (as we all know), he also is an accomplished grappler being an ADCC European Champion. We also can’t forget on his MMA record he has more submissions then he has knockouts.

    The fact that he is a champion in two completely different combat sports is unreal. I don’t think any other MMA fighter can cross over into pure stand up like him and I don’t think any elite kickboxer can cross over into MMA and do what he did.

  • 3RD EYE

    Dos santos cant come close to what the reem did… Reem should jus sign to ufc and get paid like that chump brock does. He deserves it to the fullest

  • Zadok83

    It’s more plausible than you claim it to be. MMA strikers get a lot of flack for not being dynamic strikers, but I guarantee some of them would let go more in K-1 because they don’t have to worry about defending takedowns. That is why I mentioned JDS, who at his size and ability would probably be able to do the same as Overeem.

    Plus, last I checked, Overeem has been KOed several times in MMA (one by Kharitonov, the guy that just KOed Arlovski), so being a K-1 level striker only holds a certain amount of weight.

    Be honest man, “The Heavyweight King of Combat Sports” is a flawed statement concerning Overeem.

  • David Saucier

    let me check my saving account, I might if i return enough empty soda cans.

  • Ryan Ventura

    Good points, very good points actually. I stick by my statement though, no one else is doing or can do what he does at the moment.

  • HunterB

    damn Alistair sure seems like a nice and humbled guy

  • Endo

    Starting to get a little ticked off by him saying this tourney has the 8 best fighters in the world in it. Don’t know who he’s trying to convince.

  • mmaallday

    japan is a country not a state

  • doomsdayapex

    Eight…probably not. But this tourney does have a great up-and-comer (Shane Del Rosario), the Greatest of All Time (Fedor Emelianenko), former MMA champions and contenders (Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett), the best submission Heavyweight in MMA today (Fabricio Werdum) and the most feared fighter on the planet today – the new Baddest Man on the Planet (Alistair Overeem).

    The UFC has Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. A division that has limited experience and filled with question marks. Let’s face it, while Cain is a great well rounded wrestler his chin would not withstand a Uberknee, or for that matter, survive on the ground with Werdum. Junior’s stand up seems legit but he had trouble putting away a midlevel fighter in Nelson – not to mention he’s yet to show the world his ground game. And Carwin has questionable cardio. The whole division is filled with doubt.

  • garry_blackbelt

    if overeem is still un payed he all ready got his lawyers in the mix.

  • doomsdayapex

    Don’t get me wrong, the UFC’s HW division is filled with talent but, like you agreed on, Dana’s HWs are unproven. While…

    Overeem participated in K-1 bouts (won the 2010 Grand Prix and beat Badr Hari) and the European ADCC (a 2005 Qualifiers Winner). Then we move into his MMA career – 46 fights. So, not only does Overeem offer great striking and grappling but he brings a wealth of experience to the table as well.

    And Werdum may be limited in the striking realm but his ground game is the best in that division. He also did well in the UFC (2-2) but he walked away when Dana offered a paycut. Fabricio was never cut or released, and the UFC still wants him back.

  • Endo

    Kharitonov was amazing in PRIDE too, he’s a really good fighter, just not very well known. I never said it didn’t have good fighters, I like the format too – I miss tourneys like this and I think it’s a great idea.

    All the fighters you mentioned are heavyweight. We’re talking about the best fighters in the world, regardless of weight class. It’s just incorrect to say it’s the best 8 fighters in the world, that’s all.

  • doomsdayapex

    Ugh, I can’t believe I forgot to mention Sergei. I personally think he’s a dark horse – he could surprise everyone. I agree, the guy is very underrated and unknown amongst most fans. He deserves recognition.

    I miss the PRIDE tournaments. You would have talent from all over the world competing (sometimes) twice a night. It’s a shame Dana/Zuffa/UFC no longer sends their best to other tournaments.

    True, maybe I misunderstood. Neverless, I think certain fans shouldn’t insult other MMA organizations. There’s alot of great talent in companies like Strikeforce or DREAM. Hell, if Croker would have been a little more aggressive, he’d still have Cain Velaquez.

  • Angeles0

    DAMN i wish Overeem would just come to the UFC hes too good to stay in the minor leagues of mma (STRIKEFORCE)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Old_School

    dont kno wat the buzz is with this guy. he’s a walkin ass cheek with a needle hangin out it. he probly won the damn with juiced up so who gives a shit. hes a weak chin and aint got no heart either.

  • japanegro23

    Three years? Bold call ag haha! I’m just messin.

  • doomsdayapex

    True, but I’m not exactly worried about Overeem on his back. The man has put in thousands of hours into improving his guard and submissions. Back in late 2006, Alistair was rolling with Fedor and was able to apply an Omoplata with those powerful tree trunk legs. Granted, it was only a mere practice session but Overeem is quite skilled off his back.

    Most assume Alistair has no heart. I disagree, I think Overeem was defeated before he entered the PRIDE ring on several occasions. Part of it was psychological (confidence) and the other was physical (drained from dropping a large amount of weight).

    As for Werdum, you’re right. It was a win-win situation for both parties. But I wouldn’t exactly call his defeat from Junior “crushing”. And it was a pretty lousy management decision to let him walk away after dominating the hype trains in Vera and Gonzaga. Even his decision loss to Arlovski could have gone the other way.

  • David Saucier

    I was going to say to but then i thought about the years salary thing and 3 years sounded safer lol.

  • David Saucier

    i havent seen JDS utilize kicks and knees that much, and I saw alot of those last time I watched K1.

  • jesse

    if you dont kno what the “buzz” is about then you dont kno what a legit high level kickboxer looks like, with ground skills to back it up.

  • Kings_Of_Metal

    Overeem likes to talk a lot !
    Last time Werdum took his left arm ,this time Werdum is gonna take is other arm ! Overeem has been the son of Werdum for a long time !

  • mrpedigree

    The Heavyweight King of Combat Sports ?? how the **** is he that lol

  • Ryan Ventura

    I wrote this piece a month ago…..And to answer your question:

    1. K-1 WGP Champion
    2. Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion
    3. European ADCC Champion

    Three different kinds of combat sports, name anyone else out there that can do that right now.

  • Ryan Ventura

    Very sharp my friend, Kerr was ahead of his time.