Last week, reports suggested Alistair Overeem would take on Ricco Rodriguez at DREAM.15 on July 10, however shortly thereafter, Overeem’s people said it wasn’t happening. That bounced back and forth for a few days, then Alistair Overeem finally gave his side of the story to MMA Fighting.
“After my Brett Rogers fight on May 15, I decided to take time off and do media appearances — MMA expo in Canada, E3 expo, Strikeforce events — and enjoy some time off with my family. I knew Dream wanted me on the show, but I didn’t want to go back in training preparation. Then, they offered me a fight against Andrei Arlovski for the Dream heavyweight title. As I have said on occasions, fighting for a belt means something more, and I wanted that Dream title so much that So as a result, I agreed to lay off my media and holiday plans, and went back to training.
“During my training I found out that Andrei Arlovski was not going to be my opponent, and they changed opponents numerous times. I’ve heard names like Tim Sylvia and Minowa. At one point, I received notice that they had found a opponent but that the Dream heavyweight title was not on the line anymore. With all the changes and the title fight no longer a possibility, I simply had to turn down the opportunity.
“The next day, I immediately took a flight to San Jose to hype up my possible fight against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko or Fabricio Werdum. I then heard rumors that Dream had booked me in a fight against Ricco Rodriguez. I want to make it very clear that I never verbally agreed to fight him and I never signed a contract with Dream to fight him. I feel very sorry for Ricco Rodriguez’s camp if they still think the fight is on, and I apologize to my fans that have bought a ticket to see me compete. I hope this statement has shed some light on the unfortunate situation.”
Simple enough, DREAM isn’t giving Overeem a title fight so Overeem isn’t taking it. Everyone can move on.
Well, not quite. Despite Alistair’s rather blunt statement, DREAM refuses to believe Alistair isn’t going to show up at the Saitama Super Arena this weekend. According to CagePotato, DREAM says the fight is still on and Ricco Rodriquez is in on a plane to Japan as we speak.
According to sources close to the fighter, who is currently aboard a plane to Japan under the assumption that the fight is still a go, DREAM officials have denied the reports that have surfaced about Alistair bowing out of the event and they have held steadfast to their claim that Rodriguez will indeed face Overeem.
Yep, that sounds about right, DREAM playing their hand to the bitter end. Heh, I bet they’re even getting a lifesize cardboard cutout of Alistair made up for the press conference… kidding… sort of.
Anyways, now that Overeem’s schedule has cleared, Scott Coker says Alistair’s “priority” is fighting for Strikeforce for the rest of year with the only exception being Alistair’s K-1 commitments. Another report even suggested Alistair could defend his Strikeforce title twice before the year is out, but I think that’s about as likely as Overeem showing up in Japan this weekend.