UFC Heavyweight Alistair Overeem has been announced to take part in an upcoming event for K-1. Overeem will be attending the K-1 Open Tryouts being held July 19 at Muscle Beach in California. Reem will join Tyrone Spong, former K-1 MAX champion Masato and others as a judge who will be evaluating participants for spots on future K-1 cards.
Overeem is the 2010 K-1 Grand Prix champion, which also makes him the reigning champion. It's a nice bit of continuity that he will be taking part here, plus a wise PR move, as Reem's presence will immediately draw the eyes of more MMA fans, which is an audience the new K-1 needs to tap into, especially as they hope to break into the US market.
Still, his involvement raises a few eyebrows. Overeem has had nothing to do with K-1 since winning the GP and refocusing on his MMA career, and now that he is in the UFC, an appearance to help promote another organization is a bit surprising. It's also notable because Overeem has been publicly critical of K-1 since winning the GP, claiming he was owed large sums of money and that he did not want to be involved with K-1 anymore. That was under the old, FEG-owned K-1, but it's a positive sign for the future that Overeem is willing to work with the new ownership, even just in this small capacity.
I feel confident in saying this is just Reem doing some promotion and nothing more, but still, with issues surrounding his UFC tenure, and with Reem's history as a shrewd self-marketer, might he also be keeping his options open in case a return to K-1 down the road becomes a necessity?
You can read the full press release from K-1 in the full entry.
ALISTAIR OVEREEM AND MASATOTO ATTEND K-1 OPEN TRYOUTS
K-1 Open Tryouts are July 19 at Muscle Beach - FREE and OPEN to the Public
Los Angeles, CA - With close to 200 men from all over the world pre-registered for the K-1 Open Tryouts, K-1 has reached out to two of its former champions, Alistair Overeem, World Grand Prix Champion and Masato, two-time MAX Champion, to help evaluate and scout all the Hopefuls trying out next week Thursday for a chance to fight in the K-1 organization. Overeem and Masato will head to Muscle Beach on July 19 to alternate as judges during the tryouts, and also will pose for photos with the athletes and fans in attendance. Overeem and Masato join fighting legends Tyrone Spong, Dewey Cooper, Mighty Mo and Rick Roufus who were already scheduled to attend. The K-1 Open Tryouts are FREE and OPEN to the public. With only one week left until the tryouts, Hopefuls should confirm their participation by pre-registering through the K-1 FACEBOOK page at: http://www.facebook.com/K1GlobalTV.ENG. "We are thrilled that Alistair Overeem and Masato are coming to the K-1 Open Tryouts next Thursday at Muscle Beach," said Doug Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer, K-1. "I have asked Alistair and Masato to join Tyrone Spong, Dewey Cooper, Rick Roufus and Mighty Mo to come out to LA and help K-1 find the next great breed of fighters and world champions."
Overeem, 6'5" and 265 lbs, is the last man to hold rank as the K-1 World Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion. He holds belts in two fighting sports, mixed martial arts and kickboxing, across three different organizations including Strikeforce, Dream and K-1. In Overeem's last professional fight, he knocked out former UFC Champion Brock Lesnar in the first round.
Masato, who twice held rank as K-1 MAX Champion (2008 and 2003), and runner up of K-1 MAX (2007 and 2004), is one of the biggest stars in kickboxing. He began fighting professionally in 1997 and throughout his record racked up an impressive 55 wins with 25 coming by knockout. Over the years, Masato has appeared in several feature films and in May 2012 was announced as the executive producer for K-1 Global.
K-1 is the largest kickboxing promotion in history. Since 1993, K-1 has presented professional live martial arts events in 38 countries featuring the best and most accomplished athletes in the sport.
World Grand Prix Champions of K-1 include Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky and Semmy Schilt. K-1 has held broadcast deals with ESPN and HDNet in the United States, Fuji TV in Japan, and numerous other networks across the globe. K-1 returned to the world stage on May 26, 2012 in Madrid, Spain drawing a packed stadium and hundreds of thousands of views on the K-1 Live Stream.