I don’t like to talk about my contract negotiations, but the rumors about me pulling out of the tournament because of that are false. Everybody is trying to find reasons why I was pulled out of the tournament, but I can tell you this: it’s not that difficult. Strikeforce promised me a date in the fall (October/November), I acted on it and chose to go on holiday and start my training in August. Zuffa/Showtime then decided to do it in September and then the ball was in my court, and I had to decline because I know it’s too short of time to be prepared 100 percent Instead of postponing the event they decided that the show must go on and use one of the alternates. It’s their choice, and I respect that but that don’t change the fact that nobody benefits from this situation; the fans, the promotion, the event and myself are the ones that are missing out on a great tournament and a great fight. The only one that benefits out of this whole situation is Daniel Cormier, so I wish him best of luck, and I hope eventually to fight the winner of the tournament for the belt… [The toe injury] is not that bad, otherwise I would have canceled [the Silva fight] because of that injury alone. It’s more that my body isn’t pain-free, there are minor injuries but they prevent you from training 100 percent. If you have just four-to-six weeks, and you have those minor things, then you are jeopardizing your training. I have started my training recently, and on August 1, I will have a training camp.
— Alistair Overeem telling MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani why he was removed from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix
Alistair Overeem went on to explain that if Strikeforce had informed him upfront that he would be fighting in September, he wouldn’t have taken the time off that he did. Furthermore, the members of his training camp are also on vacation with the expectation that they would start training camp on August 1. Overeem explained that if he would have taken the Sept. fight, he would have only got in four solid weeks of training due to the late start date and traveling to the US.
When the news first broke the other day, I was a little surprised to see so many of you blasting Overeem for the situation. Now that you’ve heard his side of the story, does it change your opinion at all?