Saturday, July 30, 2011
Reports: Alistair Overeem dropped
By Franklin McNeil ESPN.com
Zuffa LLC, the parent company of Strikeforce, has severed ties with heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, according to a report by MMAJunkie.com.
The news was first reported Friday night on HDNet, which said Strikeforce exercised its option to eliminate the final fight on Overeem's contract.
That decision became effective July 22.
"He got cut because he declined to fight on Sept. 10 because he was injured," Overeem's trainer, Martijn de Jong, told ESPN.com. "He accepted the United Glory fight after he was cut. He was non-exclusive anyways."
ESPN.com has not yet been able to confirm the report with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
Overeem (35-11-0, 1 no contest) was scheduled to compete Sept. 10 against Antonio "Big Foot" Silva during a Strikeforce World Grand Prix heavyweight tournament semifinal bout in Cincinnati.
But Overeem, with the support of his management team Golden Glory, withdrew from the event after complaining of a toe injury.
Overeem, who defeated Fabricio Werdum during a World Grand Prix first-round bout in June, claimed he needed more time to completely recover and conduct a full training camp.
De Jong said "serious" toe and rib injuries kept Overeem from participating in the semifinal leg of Strikeforce's Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
It was Overeem's desire to have his next fight delayed until October, but no date was available to Strikeforce during that month. All of the promotion's bouts air on Showtime, and the cable network did not have any open dates in October.
The dispute between Overeem and Strikeforce led to the champion being replaced in the World Grand Prix heavyweight tournament by highly touted Daniel Cormier, who is 8-0-0 as a professional. Cormier will face Silva (16-2-0) on Sept. 10.
Overeem is scheduled to appear in the United Glory World Series. That event is tentatively scheduled for October, though no official date has been set. It is expected to be held in Moscow.
Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil. Information from ESPN.com's Josh Gross was used in this report.