The title of this post was the quote from Dana White after Zuffa pulled Overeem from the Gran Prix. Sometimes Dana uses an anvil to make a point and sometimes he uses a scalpel. He could have easily said "When Alistair is healthy..." or "When his toe heels...". No. He made a deliberate point to use the word "pinky toe". That's the little pig that ran all the way home. And in Alistair's case that means Holland, instead of moving on in the Grand Prix.
"It’s really not a big deal to me. It’s just a toe. I guess when you love the sport and you’re committed to it, you don’t let little things like toes get in the way."
Wow, that's the kind of stuff Ronnie Lott is made of! Now, let me be clear, in no way do I think The Reem should amputate his pinky toe. I'm sure the injury, which he said is not that bad, can be a nuisance. The little dig I think Dana threw in there, as Zuffa removed The Reem from the Grand Prix, was a message to the man form Hounslow. He's not going to be able to dictate his schedule to Strikeforce or Zuffa anymore. Whatever "leverage" he had, he left in Dallas.
The Reem, over the years, has been able to make his visits to Strikeforce at his leisure. Those days are over. I have read a lot recently about how the UFC needs The Reem, how this is a "Nick Diaz like" move. Let's be real, the UFC doesn't really need anybody. They are like the Yankees, the stars will come and go, but they will still be the greatest franchise in American sports. Further, Dana has always shared a healthy skepticism when it comes to The Reem. Here is what he had to say to mmajunkie before the acquisition:
"Listen, I like Alistair Overeem, I see him all the time. Cool guy. But there's no urgency on my part to get him into the UFC. I actually find it hilarious that he's ranked in the top 10 by some of the websites. I find it hilarious. What has he done in MMA to be ranked in the top 10? I'd like somebody here to answer that question. We've got a lot of media guys here; what has Alistair Overeem done to be ranked in the top 10 of mixed martial arts' heavyweight division? Has he fought anybody worth mentioning? Uh, yeah that would help. Guys that fight the top guys in the top 10, three times a year in mixed martial arts – those are the guys that are ranked in the top 10. How bout the fact that he's fighting in K-1, where you just kick and punch? There's no wrestling, there's no this, and there's no that. How does any credible [expletive] MMA guy put him in the top 10 in the heavyweight division? It's hilarious."
Let's give a little contrast with the Nick Diaz comparison some are using. Before the acquisition, Dana was asked who he thought the best pound for pound fighter was outside the UFC. Here's his answer:
“I would probably say Nick Diaz. Nick is nasty, Nick is a tough kid and probably should be in the UFC, but he’s just too crazy, man. He does some crazy stuff.”
So, who is fighting for the UFC title against one of the greatest the sport has to offer and who is sitting home in Holland right now? It's clear that Dana has real doubts about what The Reem can do in MMA against top level talent. If he came out of Dallas with a pulverizing win, that many predicted, things might be different. He didn't. We know basically the same about The Reem as an MMA heavyweight today as we did after his fight with Rogers. Maybe a little more with the way he seemed like he needed to check into an oxygen room during the post fight interview of a three round fight. Imagine if there was a fourth round? The Reem still has a ton to prove. His situation is not remotely like Nick Diaz, who Zuffa will invest in because he always comes to fight, entertains the hell out of fans, and is proven. Till The Reem does justify his value in the heavyweight division I believe Zuffa will keep that bucket load full of cash reserved for The Reem stashed away somewhere safe. Maybe one day they will use it, maybe not. But, that is really up to The Reem, and sitting home because of a pinky toe is not going to get him any closer to that stash.