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Photo of the Day: Alistair Overeem and Dutch Royalty

  • Published in Kickboxing

Alistair Overeem is an ambassador for the world of Martial Arts. It is rare for an athlete to be a world champion in multiple sports, but that is exactly what Alistair Overeem is. Alistair Overeem is the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. On top of that, he is involved in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and will most likely end up in the UFC after all is said and done. The man gets around and there is no doubt that he makes his home proud. There is no doubt, in fact, because the Dutch Royal Family invited Alistair Overeem to a lunch with the royal family.

Yes, the photo below is of Alistair Overeem hanging out with Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange. There are sadly no photos with the sometimes cute Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, but we'll survive. [source]

Overeem/Prince Willem-Alexander

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Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Predictions

  • Published in Kickboxing

Here at Liver Kick, we mostly focus on Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Shootboxing. Spreading the good word of striking is our goal but the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix is just too good to not cover. Not only does it contain many current kickboxing stars but it also harkens back to PRIDE and the way they ran tournaments which appeals to all of us who are fans of Japanese MMA.

So without further ado, here are my picks for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. As it could quickly get crazy considering every permutation involved with reserve fighters, I'll make my picks assuming all fighters stay healthy.

 

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Alistair Overeem's Failed Drug Test and the Word Maybe

  • Published in K-1

Badr/Overeem

When news broke earlier today that UFC Heavyweight Alistair Overeem failed a random drug test administered by the NSAC, there was a swell of mixed emotions from the fans and media. The usual suspects were quick to harp on how they "knew" that Overeem was going to get caught eventually. Others were in shock that one of the UFC's banner main events for the year 2012 was potentially crumbling into pieces right before their eyes. Nothing is final yet, and there are a lot of "maybes" hanging in the air.

Maybe Overeem's "B" sample will come up clean.

Maybe the fight will be called off.

Maybe Frank Mir will step in.

Maybe Dana White will fire Alistair Overeem on the spot for putting the main event in jeopardy.

As of right now, everything is simply speculation, with the only facts being that Alistair Overeem turned up a test with a 10:1 T/E ratio, where 6:1 is considered NSAC's legal limit. The UFC 146 main event against UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos is indeed in danger, but simply put, no one knows until there is a verdict from NSAC on this matter.

What is interesting to note is that kickboxing fans are already looking to the future. If Alistair Overeem would be let go from the UFC, since his ties with Golden Glory have been more than severed, the only logical place for him to go would be K-1. With K-1 under new management and looking to make a big splash on European and American markets, a fighter like Overeem who is already the most recent K-1 World Grand Prix Champion who has also risen to be a top contender within the UFC, would be huge for them. The "stigma" of PED abuse with U.S. fans does not seem to stick for fighters, as the UFC houses multiple offenders, with some like Chael Sonnen even receiving title fights.

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Watch the Mark Fightshark Miller Return Hype Video

  • Published in Kickboxing

Mark Miller comes back to the ring after heart surgery on May 28th in Moscow, Russia for The Glory World Series event. There he will be facing Nikolaj Falin, an accomplished Heavyweight Kickboxer in his own right, while the world will be able to view it. The Glory World Series will air in over 90 countries worldwide, including the United States on HDnet on June 17th. If you aren't already hyped up, this will help. Spread this around, post it onto your Facebook, post it on Twitter, email it to your friends. Get the word out that Mark Miller is coming back.

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Semmy Schilt and Alistair Overeem to Star in "Fight Game" For Windows Phone 7

  • Published in K-1

Alistair Overeem in FIGHT GAMEThe mobile gaming market is ever-growing, and with that should come a few more fighting games. As of right now, the market for mobile fighting games is wide open, as there are only a select few. Enter "Fight Game" -- a Bas Boon company that produces some of those really cool t-shirts that you've seen Golden Glory fighters wearing for the last year or so; Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman, Sem Schilt and more. There have been rumors mulling around that Fight Game will also become, well, a game and for a mobile platform.

It turns out that Fight Game is currently being developed and will be released for Windows Phone 7. As an avid fan of the mobile phone market, this move does confuse me, but makes sense as well. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 launched late last year and is an incredibly late entry into the smartphone market which is currently dominated by phones using Google's Android operating system or Apple's iPhone. Android and iPhone dominated the United States mobile phone market and make up a bulk of users in the world as well. As a former owner of a few Windows Mobile devices (up until 6.1, where I put Android on an SD card and booted off of that -- phone nerd, I know), I can honestly say that there would not be much incentive to switch from using Android to WP7.

Why WP7? Microsoft has been very aggressive trying to onboard game developers and offering interesting incentives to them. Games on WP7 are able to link up with Microsoft's XBox Live platform and some games are cross-platform as well. So, on that note, it makes perfect sense as to why they are working on WP7, but as owners of a different platform I can only hope we see the game make it's way to other phone platforms and to a wider audience.

The game will feature some sort of strange storyline involving Semmy Schilt and Alistair Overeem and a Mortal Kombat-ish martial arts tournament. Did we mention Ubereem has a giant hammer and is crushing rocks? Oh, and Semmy drives a chopper on the streets of Miami. This is literally all we know about the game.

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Bas Rutten's Take on Overeem's Fallout with Golden Glory

  • Published in K-1

Bas RuttenBas Rutten is on a different level, and has been for a very, very long time. Not only a legendary Dutch Kickboxer and Mixed Martial Artist, or a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Bas Rutten has cemented himself as one of the premier commenters on the world of combat sports. He has deep connections all across the world, including connections with the Dutch team Golden Glory. He has made it clear that he is good friends with many inside of Golden Glory, including Alistair Overeem himself. He has been pretty quiet on the recent and very public argument between Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory. That is, until now. This recent interview is from PaulLazenby.com and he does not hold back. Bas talks about what Golden Glory has done for Overeem over the past few years.

It's a money thing. He simply doesn't want to pay the people who made him. When he lost three fights in a row...well, like pretty much 5, I mean, he lost, won, lost three times in a row, won, and lost again...and nobody wanted to have him.

But his management kept pushing and using the power that they have because they have other great fighters. Like, for example [they would say]: "If you want Semmy Schilt to fight, then you have to take Alistair as well."

This is not far fetched if you understand how the Dutch do business. Golden Glory is known for using strong arm tactics for their fighters, using their more popular, desirable fighters for leverage for their struggling fighters. Golden Glory is in business to make money, and when they see a fighter who could be marketable they do their best to get them out into the public and take care of them. Rutten talks about how sudden the split was, and looks at some of the reasons that prompted it.

I KNOW what Golden Glory did for him. He couldn't punch or kick when he came to them, and I mean, HE COULDN'T PUNCH OR KICK! Some fighters get big and then forget who was fighting for them when they were losing. Two months ago, he wanted to make a belt for the Golden Glory team with "FOR CHAMPION MANAGEMENT" engraved on it. Those were HIS words after they made this huge contract for him, and now he says they are morons? He used them to negotiate the best deal and when they did it, now suddenly they are morons? Explain that to me. It's unreal.

Also, a few months ago, when they started to get close to a good deal with the UFC, he realized that he could make a lot of money. The first thing he did was go to Cor Hemmers, his striking coach, and tried to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee.

If you don't know, Golden Glory's contracts are usually in the 30% range, which includes 20% for management and 10% for the trainers and for use of the training facilities. This was where the problems started, when Alistair wanted to instead negotiate a flat rate for the trainers. Rutten goes on to explain how Martijn de Jong and Cor Hemmers stuck by Overeem and gave him the skills that he needed, building up a long-lasting twelve year relationship.

So anyway, [Hemmers and de Jong] put him back on track, they GAVE him all those skills, they were there from the beginning, and they build him to become the fighter he is now. So for a fighter to go in and trying to renegotiate the 10% trainer's fee is just absurd.

The last part I'm going to include is what Rutten claims Overeem told Martijn de Jong when Martijn told Alistair that they were friends and that he had helped contribute to Alistair's success.

But Alistair said: "Yeah, if we have to talk about people who contributed to my success, then I also have to mention my cleaning lady who cleans my house for eleven and a half Euros an hour."

If true, it is a bit harsh and probably emotionally-driven. Many in the Golden Glory camp feel the same way as Rutten and feel like success, money and the promise of fame have gotten into Alistair's head and altered the way he views his professional relationships. Of course, Overeem's side of the coin is that he is on the verge of becoming a very famous fighter in the United States and has seen how business is done here and feels like it is more fair than how the Dutch do business. If you want to hear more from El Guapo check out the rest of the interview. [source]

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The Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory Split is a Classic Example of a Perfect Storm

  • Published in Kickboxing

Bas and OvereemThere is a lot of he-said, she-said floating around right now in regards to the Alistair Overeem and Golden Glory split. Many fans and even media are taking sides or simply rushing to comment the next chapter in the saga and try to gain some insight into the situation. I really feel like the truth lies somewhere in the middle when it comes to who is "right" and who is "wrong" and that both sides have a lot to feel slighted about. According to Golden Glory, Alistair was looking to stiff his long-time friends in his trainers by no longer giving them a percent of his earnings, instead simply giving them a flat rate like you'd see in the United States. According to Alistair's camp, Golden Glory was looking to take too much from Alistair and has now launched a "smear campaign" to make him look greedy.

For Golden Glory, it has been a trying year. After Alistair Overeem won the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship last year there were hard times coming for Golden Glory, when their vision had been anything but difficult. Golden Glory was prepared to take over the world in 2011, with the key to their success being an approach on Mixed Martial Arts in the United States and Kickboxing across the world, with the key areas being in Asia and Europe. The Glory World Series was a big part of this, and Gokhan Saki was the big feature for them. Saki suffered a few injuries in December and there was no way for him to fight early on in the year, which meant they would push back the date of their first show of the year, this being the first of many setbacks.

K-1 and Strikeforce were both going through significant turmoil at the time, and both promotions were home to quite a few Golden Glory fighters, proving to be how Golden Glory got their name and brand out to the world. Bas Boon and investors began looking into the reality of purchasing Strikeforce, and it did not seem all-that far-fetched. In fact, there was a certain air of confidence that they would soon own Strikeforce and have a serious foothold inside of the United States and immediately be competition for the UFC. On top of that, they began looking into the reality of what it would take to own K-1. Golden Glory was primed to own two of the biggest combat sports brands in the world and have inconceivable power.

For a fighter like Alistair Overeem, these were his two home bases and he was currently on top in both of them. The reality of his management owning and operating both Strikeforce and K-1 would make him one of the biggest stars in the combat sports world as soon as the ink was dry. He would go from a troubled Light Heavyweight to one of the most decorated Heavyweights in the history of combat sports and be in a prime position to not only be a star, but a wealthy star.

In the blink of an eye MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani was on a jet to Zuffa’s headquarters where Dana White would announce the acquisition of Strikeforce. This was the first huge setback for Golden Glory, a deal that felt done and was possibly promised to certain fighters, was now all of a sudden in the hands of the UFC. It isn’t clear what was promised or how close to a done deal it was, only those involved with the deal will know, but there have been strong rumors stating that Golden Glory was “sure” of the deal being done, and afterwards were furious with Scott Coker.

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Re-Evaluating the K-1 and Glory Split

  • Published in K-1

K-1/Glory

I think it is time to start looking, critically, at the Kickboxing world and where it is right now. We’ve seen that both Glory and K-1 are capable on their own of producing an entertaining, professional event with solid matchmaking. This is vital for either promotion, regardless of the name fighters involved in either promotion. Glory held their “First 16” for the 70kg class in May, while K-1, with the assist from It’s Showtime, held a coming out party event before It’s Showtime packed up and sold to Glory. This weekend, K-1 finally put on their first event, sans-It’s Showtime, and for a K-1 USA show it demonstrated exactly what this K-1 is capable of doing in the future.

Basically, we’ve reached a point to where both companies have established their brand identities, shown the world what they are going to present, and how they are going to present it. Initially, the idea of a split Kickboxing world, with the talent not being able to fight each other, with derogatory, inflammatory press releases flying out and accusations being made left and right, things looked grim. What went down earlier this summer was essentially terrible for the already hurting sport of Kickboxing. I’m not going to point fingers or name names, but if you’ve been following the sport -- or even involved in it -- you know what I’m referring to and what I’m talking about. We at LiverKick saw traffic drop off, saw fans lose interest and care less about who came out on top. They wanted fights, they wanted announced fight cards, they didn’t want to see people in the sport trying to handicap each other.

Cooler heads have prevailed and it seems like the battles will remain in the ring, with both sides having their talent signed and booked to fights in the future. The only downside is that some of the bigger, more hotly-anticipated fights might not happen immediately, but as was demonstrated this weekend by K-1, there are currently two big Kickboxing promotions able to produce entertaining and professional events that Kickboxing fans deserve. The split right now reminds me of around 2004 when UFC was pushing forward on national cable in the United States and was doing so while the consensus of the diehard fans on the internet was that PRIDE in Japan had a majority of the top talent in most weight classes. You’ll hear a lot of the same talk of K-1 right now, with Glory having most of the top talent and K-1 having whatever is left over. Much like with UFC, I predict that over time we’ll see talent cultivated in K-1 and they’ll build their own stars.

I’m not sure who will win the battle -- if anyone -- but what I’m sure of is in the coming months there are numerous big Kickboxing events scheduled, and that after a “down” 2011 and a slow start to 2012, this year will be the year that Kickboxing re-emerges as a global spectator sport.


 

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Overeem Leads K-1 Presence at Strikeforce

  • Published in Kickboxing

 

Alistair OvereemI was debating discussing this story at all. I mean, yes it does involve K-1 Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem, but there are so many places where the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament is getting coverage that it seemed maybe unnecessary. Then this morning, Strikeforce added an extra fight to the tournament that really piqued my interest.

In an upcoming fight, Valentijn Overeem will face one of K-1’s favorite sons, Sugar Ray Sefo. The fight is not 100% confirmed yet, and it is unclear if it will be on the Feb. 12 card or a future date, or a prelim or main card fight.

Now, here’s the interesting thing from our end about this tournament. You have 8 names in the main draw, plus 4 more Heavyweights currently set to compete in fights on these shows. Of those 12, 3 are current, active K-1 fighters (Overeem, Sefo, Sergei Kharitonov) and one more (Andrei Arlovski) was very nearly in the 2010 Grand Prix. This tournament is a major event – the most prominent US tournament in MMA since Don Frye won the UFC Ultimate Ultimate way back in 1996. For the tournament to feature a significant K-1 presence is definitely a point worth discussing.

Much has been made of the Strikeforce/Dream partnership that has resulted in fights like Shinya Aoki v. Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri v. Josh Thomson. But one aspect that has been largely overlooked previously is that Dream and K-1 are both part of FEG, so as Strikeforce works with Dream, they open the door to working with K-1. We are seeing that door crack open here in the tournament. Now, obviously the fighters we are seeing her are not K-1 exclusive fighters, and all have experience in MMA; most fans still view Overeem and Kharitonov as primarily MMA fighters trying their hand at K-1, while Sefo has been working on his fledgling MMA career for the past 2 years. But they are all fighters whose recent careers have been more marked by K-1 action than MMA, and who hold interest for K-1 fans.

Last year, there were vague rumblings of Strikeforce considering running some kickboxing fights in the US – remember that Strikeforce started in the kickboxing heavy California scene – but these plans never came to fruition. Since then, we have heard rumors of It’s Showtime making their US debut in 2011, though again, nothing is confirmed. With this tournament including some big players in the kickboxing scene (and right now, no one is bigger than Alistair Overeem), there definitely is potential to generate some stateside interest in kickboxing.

Will this tournament lead to Overeem v. Badr Hari here in America? No, but depending on how they promote Overeem, Kharitonov, and Sefo, it could lead to a significant number of MMA fans hearing an awful lot about K-1 and kickboxing throughout the course of the tournament. Much will be told by how the videos and commentary position these three fighters. If they focus on MMA, there will be little benefit for kickboxing. But if they talk up Overeem as the GP champ, Sefo as a K-1 legend, and Kharitonov as pursuing a kickboxing career, it will give kickboxing valuable exposure to the large US MMA audience. And as K-1 struggles at home, increased international exposure can only be a good thing.

Alistair Overeem faces Fabricio Werdum in the quarter-final round at a date yet to be determined. The winner moves on to the semi-finals to face either Fedor Emelianenko or Antonio Silva, who meet on February 12.

Sergei Kharitonov v. Andrei Arlovski is also set for February 12 with the winner meeting Josh Barnett or Brett Rogers in the other semi-final.

Ray Sefo v. Valentijn Overeem may be on Feb. 12, or may be at a later date. The other announced fight is a reserve fight on the Feb. 12 card between Shane Del Roasrio and Lavar Johnson.

No dates are yet set for the 2nd half of the quarter-finals, semi-finals, or finals.

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Anatomy of an Instant Classic

  • Published in Video

BadrOvereemOn Saturday December 5th, 2009 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, one of the pivotal matches in K-1 history occured. A match that will be talked about and referenced for many years to come. Normally, a fight of this magnitude involves long-standing legends of the sport. Fighters such as Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Mike Bernardo or the late great Andy Hug. But not this one. This battle would be between a young gun by the name of Badr Hari and an outsider. A fighter known in other areas of the combat sports world that sought to add a K-1 title to his resume. While this fight could have been just another in the long history of kickboxing, it quickly became so much more.

 

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