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Much Ado About Not Much: DREAM.16 and K-1 Final 16 NOT Cancelled, Alistair Overeem Will Fight K-1 Unless Strikeforce Gives Him Fabricio Werdum

Heavy sits the belt on the waist of Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem. Photo by Scott Peterson via <a href="">MMA Weekly</a>
Heavy sits the belt on the waist of Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem. Photo by Scott Peterson via MMA Weekly

You've probably seen the rumors that K-1 legend and UFC veteran Semmy Schilt was in negotiations with the UFC. Dave Walsh of Head Kick Legend has spoken to Schilt's management:

Head Kick Legend has gotten the definitive word from Semmy Schilt's manager, Bas Boon, that Semmy Schilt is absolutely not headed to UFC as of right now. There have been no talks with UFC management with the Golden Glory kickboxing dynamo as of yet. When pressed, Boon was quick to comment, "I have good contacts to Dana White and the UFC, but there have been no negotiations whatsoever since me, Semmy and Alistair met Dana in Ireland."

He did add that Jon Olav Einemo is the only Golden Glory fighter at the moment who has had potential talks with the UFC at the moment.

Also due to news that multiple fighters, including Japanese fighters are owed money by FEG, the parent company of DREAM, and rumors that DREAM.16 would not be held at all Head Kick Legend contacted FEG brass and got the skinny:

Head Kick Legend went ahead and spoke with FEG USA's Mike Kogan about the situation, specifically the upcoming FEG events of DREAM.16 and the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 tournament. There has been speculation that due to FEG's financial situation and the way the PUJI deal went down that they wouldn't have the funding to pull off either show or would have to make concessions. Mike Kogan was able to confirm for us that the next DREAM is indeed DREAM.16 on September 25th and that the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 will indeed happen on October 3rd.    

And as BE reader mattman73 pointed out, it's totally unacceptable that FEG has gone months without paying fighters. All of the fighters in question, from featherweight champ Bibiano Fernandes to aging veteran Gary Goodridge should and must be paid for risking their health in the DREAM ring.

I've long felt that FEG was something of a pox on the fight scene in Japan. Although I have huge respect and admiration for their K-1 kickboxing promotion, FEG's MMA events were always a distant second to PRIDE in terms of quality and impact. Now that PRIDE is gone, FEG is the big dog on the Japanese scene by default. They are the only MMA promotion with access to prime time television on a major Japanese network and, as such, are the face of Japanese MMA. I'll still be rooting for Sengoku to turn things around, but until they can do something with Judoka gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, sumo legend Asahoryu and a major broadcast network, I won't be holding my breath.

More on the DREAM/K-1 finances and what's next for Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem's in the full entry:

Head Kick Legend also gave background on FEG's financial morass:

The planned K-1 World Grand Prix format for this year also mysteriously fell through, with the Eastern Europe GP falling through, the Asia GP not happening and the Final 16 Qualifying Tournament not happening, either. If you look at the graphin the last link, the K-1 World Grand Prix this year has unfolded not as planned, at all. There is supposed to be a K-1 MAX Final 16 show in Europe in September, but the K-1 Official site, which usually lists upcoming shows on the right hand column has no sign of it anymore. The next show listed is the Koshien tournament, which there has been little actual news of to date.

The blog Nightmare of Battle usually steers away from too much business talk and simply promotes the fights, and in an interesting turn posted a news story today that addresses a lot of the recent FEG rumors. FEG has been notorious for stiffing foreign fighters, and paying them only if they return to Japan to either fight again or demand their pay. Well, not anymore, as apparently Japanese fighters are now owed money, which makes things seem a lot more dire. Editor of Kamipro magazine, Saito, is the one who is spilling this info and let's it be known that there are many contributing factors to FEG's financial woes; the Ishii tax evasion scandal, the PRIDE yakuza scandal, Yoshihiro Akiyama's "greasegate" against Kazushi Sakuraba, television stations paying 30-50% less last year for FEG programming and the increase of fight purses. All of these have led to FEG being on the ropes as they are now.

The continued existence of FEG, K-1 and DREAM also gives fighters another option. Fighters like Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem who is saying unless he gets Fabricio Werdum he'll be fighting in K-1 this fall instead of Strikeforce, from Head Kick Legend:

In an interview this week, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem hinted that if Strikeforce doesn't offer him Fabricio Werdum that he is going to fight in the World Grand Prix instead.

"Being Strikeforce champion, I will defend my belt. It depends if Werdum is available to fight. If not, I will think of entering the K-1 Grand Prix."

I would not want to have Scott Coker's job. Trying to book fights for Strikeforce is the proverbial cat herding exercise. It's easy to see why Dana White operates the UFC with such a heavy hand.