The timing's just a little too convenient. Mere hours after Inside MMA announced that Strikeforce had served Alistair Overeem with his walking papers, the latter's official website released the latest episode of The Reem, a serial documentary about the (former?) Strikeforce heavyweight champion. Is it a message to Dana White? Is it part of the Zuffa conspiracy to pry Overeem from Strikeforce and slot him into the UFC? Will The Reem join All My Children and One Life to Live in the upcoming soap opera takeover?
The video opens with Overeem's lackluster bout against Fabricio Werdum last month. We don't get much new information -- Overeem gives the same explanation for why the fight transpired as it did as he has in other outlets, but there's some interesting behind-the-scenes shots, including the interaction between the Overeem brothers following Valentijn's loss earlier in the night.
The video transitions into the situation from early last week stemming from Overeem's appearance on Ariel Helwani's radio show. Nothing new here. See a clip of Overeem "I won't be threatened speech," shot of an article announcing his removal from the tournament, further insight into his decision to refuse the September date, and...scene.
But here's where things get really interesting. We get a shot of a hospital with the caption: "AMSTELLAND HOSPITAL | JULY 29th 2011". July 29th. Hm. That's pretty recen- OH CRAP THAT WAS YESTERDAY. So not only was this video "conveniently" released the same day Inside MMA reports on his release, but it includes footage from that very same day. Hm.
Overeem narrates the scene, discussing a rib injury. It's an injury he originally believed to have been a bruise, but recovery is taking longer than usual. He explains that they (whether he means Showtime, Strikeforce, Zuffa/UFC, or some combination of the three) are pushing for the September date pretty hard, and he needs to back up his story. The doctor shows us some X-rays and explains that Alistair has fractured his seventh rib. He further explains that the fracture is located at the end of the rib near the cartilage, which demands a lengthier recovery time than a typical rib fracture.
The doctor ultimately recommends Overeem not to fight "for quite awhile." I assume this puts his Ultimate Glory bout into jeopardy, or else Overeem's story is going to look fishy.
Overeem ends the video with a monologue about feeling exonerated over his decision to pull out of the GP.
If we can take everyone at their word, it's plausible that this situation is simply a result of bad planning by Strikeforce/Showtime. For starters, pushing back the second leg of the first round was an atrocious idea if there was a rush to finish it by the end of the television deal in February 2012. Strikeforce is also on the hook for not locking up the tourney participants for all three fights of the tournament, and Scott Coker probably shouldn't have told Overeem to expect to fight in October if he hadn't confirmed that date with Showtime.
So, if Showtime was deadset on the next round running in September, and Overeem only objected on the grounds of not having enough time to prepare himself, then I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Overeem, without any use in Strikeforce, was given his release in order to free him up for the UFC. Though it seems like an odd course of action given the way Zuffa handled Nick Diaz.