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Strikeforce Champ Alistair Overeem Eligible to Transfer to UFC?

Written by Tom Ngo
July 18th, 2011
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Strikeforce Heavyweight Champ Alistair Overeem

Earlier this month, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told 5thRound the ONLY reason Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz was allowed to vacate his title and transition over to the UFC was because he had a boxing allowance in his contract. When asked specifically if Diaz was the ONLY current Strikeforce champ with such an exemption on his deal, Coker confirmed with us in the positive.

However, it appears Coker may not have read the fine print in heavyweight king Alistair Overeem’s agreement with the San Jose, California-based promotion. In a statement released Monday to MMAFighting, where “The Demolition Man” petitioned for a boxing match against either of the accomplished Klitschko brothers, he revealed there’s some unique language in his contract that also allows him an out.

“Nobody has ever seen two combat champions fight in a boxing match so I think that I have the credentials to try,” Overeem said while selling the crossover fight. “My current contract allows me to fight another sport so now I can do it.”

Diaz’s career moves have typically been motivated by money. The talented 170-pounder has made no secret about his desires of upgrading his rickety Honda. Coker suggested Diaz’s camp used his boxing exemption as leverage in landing a richer payday with the world’s premier mixed martial arts show.

Overeem, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be making moves based solely on his bank account. IF he manages to score a boxing match with either of the Klitschko bros, the purse would most likely mark the largest of his professional career.

Regardless, Overeem claims his temporary career change would be all about challenges. If that’s the case, there’s a certain Octagon just across the way that has plenty of blockbuster bouts readily available. With the Nick-Diaz-Only exemption at his disposal, will Overeem look to play the Nick Diaz card?

Overeem’s immediate MMA agenda has him facing Antonio Silva in the semifinals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix sometime this fall. If a swap does happen, it’s highly unlikely it would take place before the tournament wraps. If Ubereem sweeps the tourney, he’ll cement his spot as Strikeforce’s top 265-pounder by claiming two of their titles.

A bigger pond to swim in would then make all the sense in the world.

The other intriguing transfer that has MMA fanboys salivating involves Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, who most believe is the best 155-pounder outside of the UFC. However, Coker previously reiterated that move wasn’t happening because Melendez had no boxing provision in his agreement.

Perhaps “El Nino” might want to carefully thumb through his contract just to make sure…

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