I feel like we've been crushing dreams lately when it comes to Alistair Overeem. LiverKick.com has barely been up a week and we've been able to assure you that Bobby Lashley would not fight Alistair Overeem, Satoshi Ishii and were pretty skeptical of Todd Duffee happening. Overeem's people seemed less-than-confident of the fight happening after all of the nonsense, and apparently as of today, the fight is officially off. We haven't been able to officially confirm what happened this morning, but all signs are indeed pointing to Todd Duffee turning down the contract at the last minute.
Around the Octogon has decided to pit their credibility for this story (note the one comment from "Monte Cox"). As always, grains, salt, use them.
Todd Duffee and DREAM officials had a verbal agreement in place for him to face Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem at Dream Dynamite 2010 on New Years Eve. But when he received the contract this morning the money wasn’t right and Duffee decided to pass on the fight. ATO learned of the situation earlier today through a source close to Duffee
Golden Glory fires yet another shot over the bow in the legal situation that is brewing between former Golden Glory team member Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory management. Overeem claims that Golden Glory was dishonest with him and were bad management to him, while Golden Glory is claiming that Alistair owes them quite a substantial amount of money as per part of his agreement with them. Now MixFight.nl has spoken with Cor Hemmers about the situation, and he feels like Overeem is way out of line.
"The management made a great deal for Alistair with the UFC. Alistair was very happy with this deal himself. During the negotiations the management spoke with Alistair about the changes being made to all of the agreements, and during the final stages of the negotiations both the management and UFC sent Alistair all of the documents for his comments and approval. Alistair went on his way to ZUFFA headquarters in Las Vegas where he would sign the contract himself. And that’s where Alistair decided to change course…”
“I feel it’s a setup” says Cor, “because Alistair wasn’t satisfied with the percentages for the trainers and the management . In fact, he tried to lower the percentages for the trainers when it became clear that his income would increase in the near future. Alistair wanted to discuss a new compensation system more in the form of a fixed fee and not based on percentages. Although we have no say in this – it’s a deal between the management and Alistair – he talked about this with Martijn de Jong and me after a training session. I am disappointed in the way he acts now and the financial proposal that he made to Martijn which was way below the regular percentage for trainers. I have always felt it’s a team effort to get these boys including Alistair to the highest level of the sport."
He ends the interview with "a contract is a contract," which seems to be the prevailing mindset within the camp. From what Cor says here, it appears that Overeem was looking to alter his contract with Golden Glory to make it look more like a management contract from the United States, including paying the trainers separately, based on a flat fee as opposed to the percentage of the management contracts that they are currently paid per fighter. We'll have more on this story when it is available. [source]
When looking back at the collapse of FEG, one figure stood out in the United States when it came to publicly speaking about the problems with K-1/FEG, and that was Alistair Overeem. Alistair, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, had very publicly stated on numerous occasions that he was still owed a large sum of money by K-1. For him, working for the UFC meant job security and not having to worry about those past follies, and he had been heard talking about never wanting to work with companies like K-1 again. So for K-1 to announce that Alistair Overeem, one of the top Heavyweights in the UFC, will be in attendance for the K-1 Open Tryouts in Los Angeles, it is a big deal.
Think of it as a show of faith and letting sleeping dogs rest for K-1, as Alistair Overeem was a very vocal critic but still believes in the brand and the sport, and is willing to make a public showing like this with them. That is a big deal.
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."
If you are an Alistair Overeem fan and a kickboxing fan, there is some good news for you. Much like we speculated after Alistair Overeem had to pull out of the September date for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Alistair Overeem will be returning to action with his fight team and management at the helm for the October Glory World Series. Alistair Overeem, Sergei Kharitonov, Siyar Bahadurzada and Dion Staring appear on the new poster released today for the October event in Moscow, Russia. The strong rumor that we are hearing is that Alistair Overeem is set to headline the event and that it should be in a kickboxing bout, but no final opponent is set yet and the rules could change for his bout.
This will kick off their second Glory World Series tournament, which will be much like the last one, where there will be a Heavyweight Kickboxing tournament and there will be a MMA tournament, although it is still not clear which weight class it would be in. If they want to feature Siyar again, expect Middleweight.
The return of Alistair Overeem to fighting in kickboxing shows a serious disconnect between Overeem and current Strikeforce management in Zuffa, and this reads like a shot across the bow. Hopefully we are able to see Alistair Overeem defend his Strikeforce title soon, or even compete in the UFC, but the news of him fighting for the Glory World Series is a big deal after the May 28th supercard that was offered online streaming view YouTube.
Glory has even gone as far to say if you were one of the fans that purchased the Glory World Series card on YouTube PPV, fill out a survey and they will refund your purchase. Glory is rewarding loyalty to their product and is looking to push forward and put on more big events in the near future. We eagerly await finding out more details on this event.
UPDATE: Martijn de Jong spoke with Ariel Helwani and said "probably a MMA match" but that there was no opponent set yet.
Over the past week we've taken a look at some of the fights from Badr Hari's 2009, the year after his meltdown in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and his loss to Alistair Overeem at Dynamite!! in K-1 rules. 2009 was Badr Hari's year for redemption, where he looked to avenge past losses and finally capture the K-1 World Grand Prix Title. He was poised to take over the world at this stage.
Entering into the Semi-Finals of the tournament, Badr Hari had already made short work of Ruslan Karaev in the Quarterfinals earlier that night. He was walking into a big rematch for himself, and a bout that a lot was on the line for Badr himself as well as the K-1 world. At the time, Alistair Overeem was billed as a MMA fighter "invading" K-1 for storyline purposes. His interviews were following the same narrative; he was a MMA fighter and he would prove that MMA was stronger than K-1. For Badr Hari, he was embarrassed in 2008 against Overeem after shaming himself by getting disqualified in a fight that he could have still won.
The Badr Hari that entered the ring against Overeem was a determined fighter, with his eyes not on revenge but on winning the K-1 World Grand Prix. The often-emotional "Bad Boy" was composed during this fight, taking on Overeem's great timing and clinch work with aggression and technical combinations. The fight opens up with Overeem's trademark at the time; clinching and sweeping Badr onto his back. A move like that would score him points in Muay Thai competition or be a takedown in MMA, but in K-1 rules it is just an annoyance. He used this technique throughout 2009 to frustrate his opponents and prevent them from getting their rhythm.
Overeem's movement frustrates Hari during the round, as Hari goes head hunting only for Overeem to time them and move out of the way and clinch before Badr finds an opening and lands a few body shots. Overeem continued to clinch while Badr was finishing his combinations with body shots that connected until Overeem made his first big mistake; throwing Badr Hari into the corner. Literally just throwing him into the corner, giving Badr a few moments to regain his composure and pick himself up. Much like we've seen in the past with Badr, if you plant him to the mat, he gets up and looks to take your head off. Overeem threw a left hook that Badr was able to time perfectly and slip a right hook of his own in that landed square on the temple. Overeem stayed on his feet until another quick, short right planted him face first.
Badr smelled blood at this point, and emotions were running high for both men. Overeem knew he was in trouble and Badr Hari wanted to keep good on his promise of knocking him out in under 3 minutes. Badr Hari swarmed at Overeem with rights and lefts, with the odd body shot to throw off Overeem's rhythm and leave an opening. Badr went for a head kick but overshot it, leaving his leg in Overeem's possession for Overeem to plant him on the mat. Hari followed up using the same combination of throwing a series of lefts and rights and finishing with a right body shot and what finally put Overeem out of the tournament was that combination with a left head kick at the end sending Overeem crashing into the corner.
For Badr Hari he had overcome yet another demon of his past, and left him heading into the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Semmy Schilt, the fighter that he had made short work of earlier in the year. Things were finally looking to fall into place for Badr Hari. Catch the video of the fight after the break.
Badr Hari returns on May 14th at It's Showtime Lyon against Gregory Tony after a year layoff. This series we are doing, "The Return of Badr Hari" looks back at the moments that led to Badr Hari's meltdown and time spent in jail, leading to his one year layoff from the world of kickboxing. The next one will cover the Semmy Schilt rematch from the Finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009.
Alistair Overeem is a guy that is always full of surprises. First, he moved up to Heavyweight from Light Heavyweight and went from a very beatable fighter to an unstoppable freight train that is Ubereem. Just when it seemed like he would take the MMA world by storm, Overeem took to the K-1 ring where he saw some luck in his first year, and in his second year he went on to become the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. So of course he made his return to MMA in the United States by defending his Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship against Brett Rogers then entered into the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix where he was able to defeat Fabricio Werdum in the first round of the tournament.
Fans have been fantasy booking Overeem's potential UFC run for a while now, with him either steamrolling the competition or being steamrolled himself, and in a recent interview he was asked what he would like to do after winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and the answer almost came out of nowhere; he wants to fight Vitali Klitschko, the Heavyweight boxer. Every shred of data that MMA fans and personalities have been pumping out into the public has declared Boxing as a dead sport, but Boxing still has a glamorous sheen that neither kickboxing or MMA present, with it questionable that they will ever catch up.
The logical move for Overeem would be to focus on the Heavyweight Grand Prix and not even imagine boxing, but the thought of one man winning a world championship in the three major combat sports is one that would make Alistair Overeem an instant legend unlike anything we've ever seen before. Vitali Klitschko began his fighting career as a kickboxer, with an apparent record of 34-1 to go with his impressive boxing record of 42-2. [source]
A while back, it was reported that Amsterdam's new mayor, Eberhard van der Laan had been looking to crack down on organized crime, with a distinct focus on Martial Arts events. He was even quoted talking about mobsters being "VIPs" at Ultimate Glory and It's Showtime events. This, to many, set off alarms as there was talk of outright banning these events to keep criminals out of the public eye like that, being paraded around as important figures.
Thankfully for us, one of the reporters in the Netherlands who posts on Mixfight.nl scheduled an interview with Mr. van der Laan to discuss organized crime and Martial Arts. The picture that he paints is much different than the original article that ran in de Telegraaf (which has been known to be a "sensationalist" newspaper at times). This is very important as Tokyo, Japan goes through a tough time, all eyes are on Amsterdam to be the capitol of the kickboxing world.
"I think that there was a big miscommunication. If we can clearly communicate mutual understanding, and cooperation. " Van der Laan continued this by explaining that he used to participate in a lot of sports. He played a lot, and has learned important things from sports. Things like health, discipline and social development through meeting people, few things. The one issue where he is-strongly opposed, is the connection between upper and lower world that currently takes place in the martial arts events, and robust studies with cooperation of the police has shown that this dynamic of criminals mixing with average citizens indeed takes place at martial arts events. This is the connection that he wants to remove, and to do this would mean that the enthusiastic fighters and government must work together.
I implore you to read the full article, which discusses a meeting that took place between Alistair Overeem, Marloes Coehen and van der Laan about organized crime and martial arts events. The mayor describes Ubereem as a "nice and neat guy." [source]
The sport of kickboxing is one that has been around for a while under different rules, names and appearances, but has gone through periods of interest and disinterest alike. Without a doubt kickboxing was at its highest point in Japan from the mid-90’s through the late 2000’s under the K-1 banner. K-1 was an undeniable force in combat sports that wowed fans all over the world and kept up its level of mystique. K-1 was a monolith in the combat sports world, a Japanese organization that seemed to always have a small stable of fighters that it promoted while rarely swapping them out for newer, younger talents.
Throughout the years K-1 earned some scorn and derision from fans and insiders, claims of corruption, fight-fixing and organized crime ties behind the scenes would eventually tear the organization apart, yet fans still came out in droves right up until the final gong. Now here we sit, just shy of five years after FEG’s K-1 imploded and we are watching organizations like GLORY, K-1 Global, K-1 Japan, Enfusion and SuperKombat struggle to gain traction in their respective markets. To many, it is a mystery to mull over why brands like GLORY haven’t caught on with more fans, but it seems clear as day what the key differences were between K-1’s glory days and the current marketplace is; creativity.
If you go back and watch the first K-1 World Grand Prix that was won by Branko Cikatic you can see the roots of what would become the K-1 that we knew and loved, yet something was missing. Branko was a fine fighter, but he wasn’t the type of fighter that the Japanese audience would fall in love with or be featured on television like many future K-1 champions would be. Everything from the lighting to the stage setup and presentation was good but not quite there yet. Then professional wrestling god Akira Maeda helped K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii to meld professional wrestling ideals into the sport and everything changed.
Looking back at K-1’s list of champions and fighters that endured the passage of time as icons you’ll always find something to latch onto about these fighters. A young Peter Aerts was called the Dutch Lumberjack, entering the ring wearing a flannel vest and hat. Ernesto Hoost was called Mr. Perfect because of his immaculate technique and lived up the gimmick whenever he was on camera as the perfect fighter. Andy Hug was the karateka with a profound love and admiration for the Japanese culture so he was always seen in his signature gi in promotional videos and so on.
What I’m trying to say is that K-1 had characters. These characters were of course real-life fighters and maybe just small exaggerations of the fighters’ personalities, but each fighter that K-1 sunk considerate amounts of time and energy into marketing had a larger-than-life personality that when placed on a large stage was able to enthrall fans. Many have written off such things as simply “Japanese” and that they wouldn’t work anywhere else, but a cursory look around the world at the legions of fans of K-1 and those fighters shows just how effective that was.
I’ve heard the arguments as to why this current crop of kickboxing stars can’t be presented in that way, everything from “well, they aren’t as charismatic” to “fans want real, not manufactured hype,” but the proof is in the pudding. Chi Lewis Parry has been one of the fighters that GLORY has been heavily marketing in part due to just how much he can talk. When Chi Lewis Parry opens his mouth people listen, which is part of the magic of Chi Lewis Parry. I’m not sure that he’s ready for Rico Verhoeven just yet, but he’s found himself an audience much like Chael Sonnen did years ago and how Conor McGregor has done in the UFC recently. Chi Lewis Parry’s talent hasn’t been nurtured or curated, though, just thrust at the screen once discovered without much thought put into it.
A large part of what made K-1 so successful has to be on the shoulders of Kazuyoshi Ishii, who had the vision and talent to find these personality traits in his fighters and to amplify them. Peter Aerts was nowhere near the level of a talker as a Chi Lewis Parry or a Conor McGregor, yet he made a ton of money for K-1 and became a world famous personality off of being the “Dutch Lumberjack” and later “Mr. K-1.” In fact, Aerts is rather soft-spoken and is one of the kindest guys that you’ll ever talk to who enjoys laughing and not taking himself too seriously, yet fans were always invested in Aerts.
That was the magic of K-1. You didn’t need to be Bob Sapp to become a star. In fact, while fighters like Bob Sapp who could talk and looked imposing did great business for K-1, they wouldn’t last because of the lack of talent. Where K-1 really shined was finding legitimately talented fighters and building them into something special. In fact, there was one great project near the end of K-1’s run that deserves special attention; Alistair Overeem.
Overeem was a moderately successful MMA fighter with an imposing physique, vicious knees and a great standing guillotine that never seemed to really catch on with fans. Yet, somehow, in 2008 after wins over Paul Buentello, Mark Hunt and a draw against Mirko Cro Cop he was brought into K-1 to fight their golden boy Badr Hari on New Year’s Eve. Badr Hari was coming off of a rather embarrassing display where he essentially imploded under the pressure during the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and got himself disqualified, so K-1 thrust him into a New Year’s Eve freakshow fight to defend the honor of K-1 against the MMA world’s Overeem. The thing is, Overeem knocked Badr Hari out and all hell broke loose.
Alistair Overeem is a relatively quiet, soft-spoken guy. In fact, he’s a pretty nice dude for a guy who is as muscular and scary in the ring as he is. The cocky Badr Hari who had just earlier in the month lost the K-1 World Grand Prix via disqualification was there to get his win back, to get back on track and regain face after his in-ring meltdown, but instead a new star was born in Overeem. Overeem tried his hand against the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion of Remy Bonjasky a few months later and looked scary, but ultimately lacking experience against a tactician like Bonjasky and dropped a decision. That wasn’t the end of Overeem in K-1, oh no, not by a longshot.
The K-1 marketing machine quickly went to work with Overeem, producing perhaps one of the most amazing hype videos that I’ve ever seen for a fighter leading into the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. This video showed Overeem on the streets of Holland with his signature mallet that he used to bring to the ring with him smashing a bike into pieces. It encapsulated the fury that we saw in the ring from Overeem, the raw power and emotion that he brought into fights without him having to cut an eloquent interview. After smashing a bike and a camera tripod he pointed to the camera, took a few deep breaths and uttered “Everybody’s gonna die.”
It was beautiful. I remember seeing it at the time and just being awestruck by it. Alistair Overeem held a victory over Badr Hari and nearly defeated then-champion Remy Bonjasky and was going to fight the legend Peter Aerts in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. Overeem was being billed as the outsider, the invader who was looking to usurp the throne that was always held by the best kickboxers in the world for his own. It was a simple, effective narrative that was only exacerbated when he defeated Peter Aerts in the Final 16, securing his spot in the K-1 World Grand Prix.
K-1 did a series of vignettes with Overeem leading up to his entry into the K-1 World Grand Prix, focusing on his raw strength and his crazy, unorthodox training in Holland. While all of that was good, perhaps what was the most effective was showing him eat. Sounds weird, right? But Alistair Overeem is a huge dude who needed a lot of protein and when they sent a camera crew to show him cooking his own food and talking about how he ate horsemeat for its protein value, well, everyone went nuts. Alistair Overeem filmed inside of a tiny Dutch kitchen that he could barely fit inside of cooking horse steaks to prepare for the K-1 World Grand Prix was an image that endures to this day as one of the defining moments in the career of “Ubereem.”
His first fight was to be against the Kyokushin fighter from Brazil that was popular in Japanese karate circuits in Ewerton Teixeira. Teixeira was always a skilled guy who wasn’t the most exciting fighter to watch, but he connected well enough with fans and filled an important role for the organization by representing Kyokushin. The video package that they created leading into that fight hammered home their narrative of Overeem being an “invader” from MMA, showing highlights from his fights with Badr, Remy and Aerts. The visual of Overeem literally bullying around the K-1 legend Peter Aerts and tossing around Remy Bonjasky was a powerful one, so was the interview footage of Badr Hari talking about his loss to Overeem. They also sowed the seeds of Overeem vs. Badr Hari meeting again in the tournament in a rematch for the ages, which played a big role in the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix.
Overeem scored an absolutely brutal knockout on Ewerton Teixeira with a clinch knee, which helped to lead to the legend of the UBERKNEE and only made Overeem look that much stronger heading into the semifinals against Badr Hari. The rematch with Badr Hari was the story of the show, by far, which overshadowed what would become another Semmy Schilt victory. The real story of the show was that Alistair Overeem’s stock was on the rise and that it was part skill and talent and part marketing and narrative-building. This fight was the culmination of a lot of work and storytelling where a lot of credit should go to Michael Schiavello’s absolutely brilliant narrative-driven call throughout this event.
I’ve heard many a fan decry Schiavello, Sefo and Kogan’s call during that match, or their celebration on-camera after the fight as “cheesey” or “unprofessional,” but the reality was that they were genuinely excited and engaged in the narrative, as was the entire crowd. That finish still gives me chills to this day because of just how perfect of a moment it was. The thing is, I’ve heard a lot of people say that narratives in combat sports are “impossible” because of the unpredictable nature of people getting hit in the face, but the truth is that a deft storyteller will find a way to weave a complex narrative that can be altered along the way to be just as effective.
Due to Badr Hari once again losing his cool in the ring in 2010 he was on a bit of a sabbatical from the sport, leaving the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix wide open for new blood. The tournament saw a lot of top names involved, including newer names like Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki becoming dark horses to win the entire tournament and to bring new blood into the K-1 lineage. K-1 continued their push for Overeem, though, pushing the narrative of Overeem more focused than ever on K-1, but still slightly arrogant and the outsider heading into the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix.
They focused on his raw strength as one of his selling points. We know in combat sports that raw strength and physique aren’t what makes a fighter “good,” but by pushing this narrative they kept building up Overeem as a larger-than-life character, even having him talking about how he grew up watching Hulk Hogan in WWF.
Overeem, of course, would go on to win the K-1 World Grand Prix, becoming one of the most famous fighters in Japan. His stock also rose within the United States as well, with more and more fans calling for him to step back into the Strikeforce cage to defend the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship, maybe even go to the UFC and challenge Brock Lesnar in a dream match. In fact, Overeem now had an aura about him when he stepped into the ring. He was the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and that not only meant something, it meant everything at the time.
Regardless of your opinion of Alistair Overeem, K-1 took a fighter that was talented and driven and helped to push him beyond the level that he was at the time. They helped to make him a star and a featured attraction that they were drawing money off of up until scandal struck and the company lost their television deal and ultimately disintegrated.
Alistair Overeem is simply the last example of starbuilding that K-1 did and how that work that they did on pushing Overeem’s larger-than-life character was able to carry over after his K-1 career and help to build him up to be a living legend in combat sports. Anything that happened after is immaterial, of course, but he was still elevated in part by K-1’s huge push that endeared him to fans across the world. If you were to ask me what is missing from modern kickboxing that K-1 was able to do the answer is simple; they built stars. They made fans care about their fighters while transforming them into characters and building narratives around their fights.
It didn’t matter if these characters won or lost, they were still verifiable draws for K-1 and vital parts of the K-1 ecosystem. Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome Le Banner, Andy Hug, Ray Sefo and many other fighters won and lost in the K-1 ring but it never mattered because they’d come back and get another chance. They’d get another chance and K-1 would weave stories about these fighters and their upcoming fights that made fans genuinely interested in seeing what came next. These narratives didn’t need to be perfect, they just needed to exist.
That doesn’t exist today. Instead we get training footage, cut-and-dry interviews and a focus on who won and who lost, not the humanity behind who won or lost. Not the story. If you treat a fighter who lost like a human being and tell their story the chances of fans being interested in their next fight is only going to increase. This is why fighters like Aerts and Hoost could have thirty year long careers that included crushing losses but still attract fans to this day.
The sport of kickboxing drew on not just the physical aspect of the sport, but it drew and thrived off of the creativity of the sport. Kickboxing thrived not just by having a good, rock ‘em, sock ‘em product, but by molding fighters into larger-than-life characters that played off of their personalities. It thrived by created narratives for each and every fight to appeal to fans and didn’t rely on fighters to sell their own fights. Kickboxing helped to build these fighters into box office and television attractions and was never left with cards that delivered in action but drew no eyes.
So my answer to the question that is floating around right now as to “Why aren’t fans attracted to kickboxing?” Simple, nobody is doing anything to make fans care.
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.