So Alistair Overeem is still the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. Well, technically at least.
Golden Glory’s Bas Boon has clarified to ESPN’s Josh Gross that Zuffa only exercised their right to terminate the final fight on Overeem’s contract, not outright release him which means he’s still technically their heavyweight champ. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to defend his title again, but Overeem is in a “negotiation period” with Zuffa which leaves the door open for it.
Despite exercising its right to terminate the final fight on Alistair Overeem’s contract, Forza LLC, which operates Strikeforce and is a subsidiary of UFC’s parent company, Zuffa LLC, has not released the Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
Bas Boon, who represents Overeem through Dutch management firm Golden Glory, clarified to ESPN.com that the 31-year-old fighter is currently “in a negotiation period with Zuffa.” Boon declined to discuss details, though sources familiar with the arrangement between Overeem and Strikeforce explained the fighter is bound to exclusive and separate 120-day negotiation and matching periods with the Las Vegas-based promoter.
In addition to the exclusive negotiation period and, if necessary, a subsequent matching timeframe, a source with knowledge of Overeem’s contract said the fighter was not stripped of his Strikeforce belt and remains tied to the promotion via the so-called “champions clause,” a common passage in fighter contracts that allows MMA promoters to maintain contractual rights to titleholders after their deals expire.
Boon believes the real issue with Overeem centers around agreements he and Scott Coker made before Zuffa took over. Unnamed sources told Gross they only had a handshake deal in place to put Overeem in the finals of the grand prix if he were to advance, but all Boon would say is their “agreements” were “creating headaches for Zuffa.” When they didn’t reach a new deal, Zuffa terminated the final fight on his contract, but didn’t fully release him.
So the good news is there’s still a chance we’ll see Alistair Overeem fight in Strikeforce again or move to the UFC. The bad news is we may not see Overeem fight again until next year.