Today, at the UFC 165 media scrum in Toronto, promotion President Dana White fielded a question regarding Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir, and whether or not their upcoming November 16th bout in Las Vegas at UFC 167, was a “do or die” proposition for both.
In reply, White simply stated:
"Yeah, definitely; definitely."
In follow up, White was asked what the purpose was in booking Overeem into a fight so soon after coming off of a KO loss; Travis Browne, August 17th.
To that, White replied:
"The doctor says he’s ready. If the doctor clears him, he’s ready to go."
Put the two statements together and it appears that White is not only looking to jettison one or both fighters, but that he wanted the matter settled sooner rather than later. Subsequent to that, White doesn't seem to be in the mood to be codling Overeem or looking to give him copious amounts of time, to work on either his game or his cardio.
If we probe deeper, we can also surmise that simply winning the fight might not be enough to save the victor from being cut. It’s a given that the loser of the bout is gone, at least in White’s mind, but even the winner, should he win in a boring fight, particularly if it’s booed by the fans, appears not to be safe either and could well be handed his walking papers, along with the vanquished.
However, before we cement it all as a done deal, let us proffer another possibility.
For the sake of the argument, let’s say Overeem & Mir come out and have a war; an epic battle that rages for three rounds and ends up with either a KO or a submission in the last five seconds of the third round. Let us also say that the bout is fight of the night and either of the other two bonuses.
If that transpired, would it not be reasonable for White to keep not only the match’s winner, but also its loser?
For me, fair is fair. If the winner is to be cut along with the loser in a boring fight, it would stand to reason that the both should be kept if the fight is exciting and the loser given another kick-at-the-can.
Regarding the premise of the question and the fight that I described, no, it’s probably not going to happen, but then again it could. Everything is on the line for these two and they're both going to be motivated; particularly Mir. Where it’s probably a foregone conclusion that Overeem would end up in Bellator MMA and continue on, the case would be less certain for Mir. At age 34 and being the company man that he is, a loss this November 16th could well see Frank hang it up and end his career.
As both have much to lose, we just might see the epic battle that I described. If so, it would be amazing and both should be kept.
If Mir comes out and fights, and doesn’t just wait on his opponent as he often does, if he’s prepared to jump guard and take Overeem down, then that would be half the equation for an epic battle. For his part, If Overeem can keep his chin out of the fight and can show up with three (hard) rounds of cardio in his gas tank, then that would be the other half of the equation and we could well have an awesome fight on our hands. Sadly, that’s a lot of ifs.