Photo by Dave Mandel for Sherdog.com.
The latest chapter in the Zuffa vs. Golden Glory discussion sounds like good news for fans of The Reem. According to both Overeem himself and Golden Glory head Bas Boon, Alistair Overeem has not in fact been cut from Strikeforce or stripped of the Heavyweight title.
Overeem sat down with MMA Bay to discuss this whole situation, saying that he is in a negotiation period with the UFC. He also added that he's ready to come to the UFC, and he wants an immediate shot at the Heavyweight title:
I am in an exclusive negotiation period [with the UFC]. If we can find common ground, we can work together, and if we can't, then we're going to depart. I want to fight in the UFC. They have the best guys, but it has to be at the right terms. So, we're just going to have to wait and see.
The dream for me is to directly fight for the UFC title. I already hold the other three titles--the Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 titles. Which other title is there? This fight would make me champion of all belts. That would interest me.
Here's Josh Gross at ESPN.com explaining the current situation with Overeem:
Despite exercising its right to terminate the final fight on Alistair Overeem's contract, Forza LLC, which operates Strikeforce and is a subsidiary of UFC's parent company, Zuffa LLC, has not released the Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
Bas Boon, who represents Overeem through Dutch management firm Golden Glory, clarified to ESPN.com that the 31-year-old fighter is currently "in a negotiation period with Zuffa." Boon declined to discuss details, though sources familiar with the arrangement between Overeem and Strikeforce explained the fighter is bound to exclusive and separate 120-day negotiation and matching periods with the Las Vegas-based promoter.
Zuffa, through a representative, declined to comment on Overeem's contractual status.
Gross goes on to explain that the Silva fight would have been the last on Overeem's current contract, and, despite Overeem being tied to a champion's clause, negotiations to extend that contract failed. This means that Alistair is now in this negotiation period, which could either mean his return to Zuffa, or simply be a formality before his official release.
Despite the positive talk from Overeem, the (former?) champion does say he is getting mixed messages from Zuffa, and complains that they are still not being entirely honest about their motivations behind cutting Valentijn Overeem, Jon Olav Einemo, and Marloes Coenen. Alistair states that all four of the fighters had in fact been paid directly by Zuffa for recent fights, so is unsure why this would suddenly become such an issue.
Finally, he announces that he has been pulled from the October United Glory card, and will not be fighting there. Overeem says it is because he won't be fully recovered from his injuries, but you have to wonder if his removal is in some part a show of good faith to Zuffa.
Dana White dropped by the UG to comment:
We are not even close to a deal with allistar but we are working on it.
Complete video of the MMA Bay interview with Overeem in the full entry.