A Champion's Clause Never Bound Alistair Overeem to Defend Title

Alister_mediumIn an interesting interview by MiddleEasy.com in which they actually asked Overeem who would win in a fight between the 1993 version of Wesley Snipes and the 1986 version of Sylvester Stallone (Seriously? Rambo/Rocky wins), it was revealed that Strikeforce didn't bind Overeem to a champion's clause following his win over Paul Buentello for the championship belt:

If you could tell [Brett] Rogers one thing regarding his accusations, what would you say?

My contract with Strikeforce was only made about three months before the incident, I think they let me fight against (Vitor)Belfort and Paul (Buentello) to lose, but I won. Normally in a contract it says you have to defend your title within a certain period. But my contract just ended there. As I had a long term contract with FEG, I kept fighting for Dream and K-1. It’s ironic that we finally got an offer from Strikeforce and reached an agreement, and I get in some stupid brawl and cut my hand. In jail it got infected and it took longer than expected.

If you recall, Rogers made various statements regarding Alistair's motivation to actually come back to the U.S. to defend his belt. He came to the conclusion that Alistair was afraid of his hands and he was basically ducking him. Overeem states that he didn't actually have a contractual obligation to defend the belt until roughly three months before his incident with a few bouncers at a dance club.

If this is, in fact, true, it's strange that Strikeforce didn't have Overeem binded to some sort of clause if he were to become champion. It seems Alistair believes he was brought in to lose to Belfort or Buentello, and that's why there was no mention in his contract regarding such a clause. In any case, all of the hatred being produced by potential opponents seems to be uninformed aggression. It's likely that Rogers had no idea about Overeem's status with the promotion, and Strikeforce likely wanted to create a little buzz with some trash talk from Rogers even though much of it revolves around Overeem not defending his belt. It's interesting that fans also talked about Overeem staying out of the US due to his muscle-ridden physique, but according to Alistair -- he was never obligated to do so.

Overeem may still be on a long road back to actually stepping into the Strikeforce cage. He's currently scheduled to take on Mighty Mo at an October 17th event called the Golden Glory 10th Anniversary. He will also take part in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals 2009 Opening Round on September 26th against K-1 veteran Peter Aerts in what could become a lengthy run in the K-1 Grand Prix tournament if he happens to win. That's a solid number of fights for Overeem in which he would have to remain injury-free. It'll be interesting to see if he can pull off that kind of workload.

With Rogers now scheduled to take on Fedor Emelianenko on a tentative date of October 10th, Alistair could be in line to take on former UFC fighter Fabricio Werdum sometime toward the end of the year. A Rogers' loss coupled with an Overeem win likely won't give Rogers a chance to back up his mouth, but at least the smack talk by Rogers could potentially spark some fireworks if both men happen to agree to a fight in the future.

HT: Anton Tabuena, MMA for Real

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