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Strikeforce Releases Their Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (Update)

HDNet broke some major news tonight. According to Inside MMA’s Ron Kruck, Strikeforce has released their heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

HDNet’s “Inside MMA” breaks more shocking news concerning StrikeForce™  Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem who “Inside MMA” has learned has received a cut letter and has been released from the promotion.

Sources close to the situation have told “Inside MMA’s” Ron Kruck that Strikeforce™ has exercised its right to eliminate the one remaining fight on Overeem’s contract effective July 22nd.

MMA Junkie and MMA Fighting also confirmed the news.

Interestingly, HDNet is also reporting that Overeem’s has more serious injuries than a hurt pinky toe.

Also according to the source, Overeem has been dealing with more serious injuries than originally reported, including a broken toe and rib. He also has problems with an elbow.

MMA Fighting confirmed that bit with Overeem’s trainer Martin de Jong.

“He went into the fight with Werdum with a broken toe and elbow and rib issues, which got worse after the fight,” de Jong said on Friday. “He needed to heal up those injuries first to be able to train again.”

Oddly enough, shortly after the big news about Overeem’s release broke, the latest episode of The REEM (seen below) hit the web which shows Overeem at a hospital in Netherlands where he receives confirmation that he has a broken rib.

“I’m very happy that I now have the confirmation for my story to cancel the fight, because canceling a fight is never nice,” Overeem says on the video. “I’m the fighter who always wants to fight. The Strikeforce [Grand Prix] is something I really wanted to win. But also, I realize that I have to be fit to fight, of course. I felt I was not fit going into training, and now this to back up my story, feels good.”

Okay, so we’ve established that Overeem is legitimately hurt, but since when does Zuffa release fighters because of injuries? Well, they don’t, which leaves that part of the story unexplained. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Dave Meltzer, it may be a product of failed contract negotiations.

Overeem’s release is said to have been related to an impasse between Zuffa and Golden Glory. Golden Glory was believed to be looking for terms to a new deal that would’ve been different from what Zuffa affords its fighters to this point, including the ability to seek fights outside the promotion. With Strikeforce being purchased by Zuffa, fighters have fewer alternatives to get the type of money, and more, the negotiating power and leverage, that the biggest stars and management have gotten in the past.

Overeem is currently scheduled to fight in October on a United Glory card, but it’s unclear what his plans are beyond that. Obviously they won’t include Strikeforce though. Lame.

Update: Fighters Only has more details on why Alistair Overeem was released.

Shortly after Overeem was removed from the Strikeforce tournament, he appeared on a poster for an October event in Russia being staged by United Glory, a promotion operated by his camp Golden Glory. This did not go down well with the Strikeforce and Zuffa personnel in the US who had been trying to get him to fight in September.

Overeem had one fight left on his Strikeforce contract and was in negotiations for a new one recently. He was supposedly looking for a clause to allow him to continue fighting in the Japanese kickboxing organisation K-1 but Strikeforce’s new parent company Zuffa would not agree to that.

This made for difficulties between the negotiation parties and at least partly contributed to last night’s announcement that Overeem is cut from the Strikeforce roster.

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