Apparently, being let in on contract negotiations as they happen is not a good thing, which explains this afternoon's debacle with Todd Duffee. A member of Todd Duffee's fight camp told a blog, AroundTheOctogon.com, that the money offered to Todd Duffee was not as verbally agreed upon, so Duffee was not taking the fight. Now the same site is reporting that Duffee has sorted out the issues and will indeed fight Alistair Overeem on New Year's Eve in Japan.
It is great to finally see Alistair Overeem's opponent for New Year's Eve ironed out, and that apparently Duffee can expect that $60k paycheck from FEG, of course, whenever FEG has the money.
There are a few issues that have arisen from this that should become crystal clear to the casual onlooker, the first and possibly most important is that Japanese MMA has become important in the United States. A few years ago something being passed around message boards, blogs and news sites would be written off as unimportant, but with how the media is now and how the average consumer receives their news, that is not the case. Japanese MMA might be a dying fad in Japan itself, but something new is happening here, and it should be noted. For all of the fatalism paperclipped to MMA's file, I'm not quite sure that anyone expected a fighter from Holland who became a name in the United States fighting in Japan would make such a splash on such an isolated, hard to read country as Japan.
This year's Dynamite!! card will appeal to the hardcore fan, but to the casual MMA fan who might not follow Japanese MMA, Alistair Overeem's name being attached to it has lent it some much-needed credibility and hype. The question that I ask is this; is Alistair Overeem what Japanese MMA needs to survive? Is a fighter becoming a huge name internationally while making Japan their de facto home going to help bring in attention to a sport dying on the vine there? Time will only tell.
The other issue is that, with this, comes a wealth of MMA bloggers and legitimate reporters (I mean this at no slight to bloggers anywhere) who have very little knowledge about just how insane the Japanese MMA world is. Where in the United States, a last minute fight like this would result in a rumor, closed contract negotiations and a resolution, Alistair Overeem's journey for a fight has led to endless rumors, assurances from some of the MMA world's top reporters that fell flat and people squabbling over whose sources are more legitimate than others.
I hope that everyone has learned something.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.