Alistair Overeem has finally responded to being cut by Strikeforce. On Inside MMA last night, Overeem explained that he wanted to finish the grand prix in Strikeforce and eventually fight the top heavyweights in the UFC, but talks for a new contract broke down when Zuffa demanded exclusivity. Transcription via Fight Opinion:
“The basic thing was there wasn’t a negotiation except for the date, that was the only communication going. But then the second thing what happened was Strikeforce found out that I only had one fight left on my contract. So, they were like, hey, wait a minute, if Alistair wins this fight he’s going to be in the finals without a contract, which for us would be the golden situation because then you’re in a final of a tournament without a contract. Well, there were some contract negotiations for an extension in Strikeforce and basically what happened was there was a lot of terms in there which… yeah, which we could not live with. One was exclusively to fight for Strikeforce and basically that would mean I would have to let K-1 go, to let DREAM go, and yeah, even the possibility of the UFC. I’m always a guy looking up, looking further, and yeah, the UFC is where the top guys are. That’s my ultimate goal to become a UFC champion. But, basically, they wanted to keep me in Strikeforce and, yeah…
“It’s unclear where their priorities are and if it’s one entity or two, I don’t exactly know if that’s the case. But from what I understand that they wanted to keep me in Strikeforce to build the Strikeforce brand and, yeah, for me of course, I want to go where the top guys are and that is UFC and UFC is what I’m interested in. But, of course, I like K-1 and I like DREAM, so basically what I understand is that the contract for my next Strikeforce contract is what… yeah, what they couldn’t work out and, after that, I was released. After that, I was cut from my last fight in Strikeforce.”
Just because Alistair was released doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never fight in the UFC though. Well, at least as far as Dana White is concerned. On The MMA Show, Dana told Mauro Ranallo that he’d love to have Overeem in the UFC heavyweight division, but only if Golden Glory plays by their rules. Transcription via MMA Mania:
“Yes, I would love to have Alistair Overeem in the heavyweight division. If we can come to a deal and we can make this happen and we can pay Alistair Overeem his check when he fights and he can pay Golden Glory, then absolutely we can do a deal.”
Bottom line is as long as Overeem has opportunities overseas, the chances of him ever signing an exclusive deal with Zuffa are pretty slim. It’s pretty obvious that Overeem likes complete control of his career and isn’t going to give that up if he doesn’t have to.