Alistair Overeem: Zuffa Threatened to Cut Me From Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix

Written by Tom Ngo
July 18th, 2011

Strikeforce Heavyweight Champ Alistair Overeem

Last Monday, the UFC’s light heavyweights hoarded the MMA headlines with an endless string of last-minute substitutions. This week, Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem decided it was time to turn the attention back towards Zuffa, LLC’s other mixed martial arts promotion.

After issuing a public challenge to boxing brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko Monday morning, Overeem appeared as a guest on The MMA Hour on MMAFighting and revealed his continued participation in Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament is currently in limbo.

“Stikeforce has requested me to accept the fight for September 10th, to agree on that, but I have not agreed on it,” Overeem stated. “No, the fight is not confirmed. I do not confirm it and I will not confirm it.”

The reigning Strikeforce champion claims September is far too quick of a turnaround from June’s unanimous decision victory over Fabricio Werdum. “The Demolition Man” feels disrespected because he believes he was given an ultimatum instead of an option.

Overeem would prefer to have the semifinals take place in October.

“What’s going to happen next, I don’t know,” Overeem shared. “I’ve had some threats of cutting me out of the tournament if I don’t participate. I don’t know if they’re going to do it. Personally, I don’t like to be threatened. If people start talking like that then … be my guest, but then I’m really not going to sing to their tune.”

If the controversial 31-year-old is yanked from the HWGP, Overeem still plans on pursuing a fight in October. Whether it’s a kickboxing bout or a MMA contest will be left up to his management to wheel-and-deal. Regardless, he expects the number of suitors overseas to be bountiful.

“I’m going to fight [in] October regardless. If it’s not going to be for Strikeforce, then I’ll fight somewhere,” Overeem professed. “The thing is, there’s other promotions. There’s other stuff I can do. K-1’s going to come back. There’s some good reports on that. There’s some other promotions in the world that would love to have me fight.

“So for me, the respect thing is definitely a factor and it’s definitely important.”

On Monday afternoon, Strikeforce officially announced their September 10th show, as well as several of the card’s fights. As expected, no heavyweight tournament bouts were reported.

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