This little nugget has gotten much less attention than it merits, via MMA Fighting's account of Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara's post event press conference after DREAM.13:
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem fights for Dream more often than he fights for Strikeforce. Sasahara said he hopes to see Overeem fight Josh Barnett, and that the winner of that fight would take on Fedor Emelianenko.
"Of course, belts will be involved so you can expect this year to be about Strikeforce vs. Dream and also titles on the line," Sasahara said. "Watching tonight's fights, I think we have a taste of what this year will be like."
Naturally American fans who are truly sick and tired of waiting for Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem defend his belt, Fedor Emelianenko to work out his contractual issues, and just plain sick and tired of Josh Barnett will not be excited about any of these match-ups. Josh Gross's commentary on DREAM.13 points out another negative to a Barnett vs Overeem match:
Dream must consider implementing meaningful drug-testing, otherwise it will deservedly earn the reputation as a haven for P.E.D. users like heavyweight Josh Barnett. "The problem of the Japanese promoter is that athletic commissions don't exist," Dream executive Sotaro Shinoda told SI.com last week. That's not a responsible position which stands up to the realities of sport.
Michael David Smith piled on, in his brutal review of Barnett's fiasco of a fight against Mighty Mo at DREAM.13:
The win improves Barnett to 25-5, but it does nothing to advance his MMA career. The bottom line is that Barnett has the talent to be a great fighter, but he's stuck in Japan fighting mediocre opponents because he refuses to follow American rules against performance-enhancing drugs. What a shame.
If DREAM books a fight between Overeem -- who is suspected by many of using PEDs -- and Barnett -- who has failed more steroid tests than anyone in MMA history -- this criticism of DREAM as a haven for PED abusers will only grow louder.
Not that that matters to Japanese fans, DREAM's management, or honestly me. I'd love to see Barnett vs Overeem with the winner to get Fedor. Provided that Overeem defends his Strikeforce belt against Brett Rogers first and that the final fight takes place in the States and everyone passes their drug tests.
I won't be holding my breath.