What Options Does the UFC Have for Alistair Overeem When He Returns?
The Nevada State Athletic Commission denied Alistair Overeem's license on April 24 due to elevated testosterone levels. This was well documented.
UFC President Dana White has spoken to the media recently about how Overeem lied to his face. That set a fire under White's backside. It is clear that the heavyweight has struck a nerve with the brass.
Instead of a 12-month ban, the superstar heavyweight was given a generous nine-month wait where he can then re-apply for a license.
But then what?
The UFC is still contemplating how they will respond to the 14:1 ratio and the subsequent fallout that has had the UFC searching for replacement after replacement for UFC 146.
These are their options.
It is also a question of if Overeem returns to the UFC, not when. Firing Overeem may be the simplest solution.
Releasing Alistair Overeem sends a clear message to the rest of the roster. It also makes the UFC look good in the press.
Overeem lied to the owners of the company, according to White. He then proceeded to ruin one of their biggest fights of the year because of his elevated levels. In only his second fight in the UFC, he has cost the company a lot of money. Why keep a fighter like this on the roster?
The heavyweight division is deeper than ever. Losing Overeem is not a major blow to the division or the company. Cutting ties may be the simplest and best option for the company.
Fight the Winner of JDS/Mir
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This is the least likely option, and the worst by far. However, it does remain an option for the UFC.
The casual fans will not care about Overeem's problems. Furthermore, they'll be ancient history in their eyes by the time this fight could happen in early 2013. If anything, it adds intrigue for them. A storyline to go along with the highlight knockouts.
But those who follow the sport religiously, and care about its integrity, know this would be a horrible decision.
Overeem is a star by virtue of destroying Brock Lesnar. The fight would garner a lot of interest and sales. It is just not the right move.
Fight a Contender
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Overeem can re-apply for a license to fight in Nevada in late December. This means he will most likely step back inside the cage early in 2013. If Dana White wants to give Overeem a chance to regain his No. 1 contender status, this would be the way to go.
There is a lot of work to be done for the other heavyweights in 2012, but there will be no shortage of contenders ready to fight Overeem.
Whoever may be available and in the top five of the division would be logical to match up with Overeem. The winner earns a shot at whoever the champion may be for late spring or early summer.
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The fans tried to rally for the kickboxer out of New Zealand to replace Alistair, so it only makes sense that they should fight.
If Hunt is able to get past Stefan Struve at UFC 146, that will make four straight inside the Octagon. With growing fan support and a style match-up that would excite everyone, it makes a lot of sense. Overeem vs. Hunt to determine the No. 1 contender.
It pits Overeem, a chiseled bad boy, against Hunt who is no nonsense, lovable and husky. Add the backstory of Overeem's transgressions, their combined success in the K-1 World Grand Prix and the fight sells.
Hunt would have to sit on the shelf for a considerable amount of time, but knowing he would return against Overeem in a high-profile bout, I think he would be OK with that.
Winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion against the winner of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. It just makes sense.
The winner of the Grand Prix will probably want to fight again in 2012. But if they can be talked into not debuting until early 2013 against Alistair, it may be the quickest way to a title shot.
Overeem vs. the winner of the tournament would signal the best Strikeforce heavyweight, the linear PRIDE champion and the best option to be the No. 1 contender afterwards. It also is an easy sell to the fans that the winner of the fight should be the next in line for a crack at the UFC championship.
The fans will be treated to a great fight regardless of if it is Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier. If the UFC keeps Overeem and he is granted his license in December, it's the fight that should be looked at first.