At UFC 141, Alistair Overeem made a dramatic statement.
In knocking out former UFC heavyweight champion and pay-per-view golden boy Brock Lesnar, Overeem made a bold proclamation inside the Octagon.
"I am here, I am for real and I am coming for the belt," Overeem seemed to say with the win.
Leading up to his UFC 146 showdown with champion Junior dos Santos, "The Demolition Man" made another statement entirely.
"I'm cheating," he all but admitted with a urine sample containing more testosterone than a room full of 17-year-old boys at Hooters.
The rise and fall of the 'Reem has been well documented, and it has received much of the press and media's attention concerning the UFC's heavyweight division.
Isn't there another guy lurking in the shadows though?
Yes there is, and he deserves the spotlight every bit as much as Alistair Overeem.
That man is American Kickboxing Academy standout Cain Velasquez.
While Alistair Overeem was busy cheating the system, Velasquez toiled at practice, putting in the hard work for his UFC 146 matchup with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
Velasquez absolutely destroyed Silva in the bout, and he immediately established himself as a top contender with the win.
Is he the top contender though?
There are two ways to look at this: One involves looking at the situation from a business standpoint, and the other involves looking at it from an "integrity of the game" standpoint.
Financially, Overeem vs. dos Santos is huge. Both guys are monsters, both guys specialize in striking and neither guy has looked even remotely mortal in the past three years.
Add in their recent grudge, and it's clear that Overeem vs. dos Santos is a blockbuster event in the making.
Matching the champion with Cain Velasquez is, however, less desirable from a business standpoint.
Besides the fact that dos Santos already destroyed Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1, the AKA product has never been the most media-friendly personality in the game.
Overeem exudes confidence and superiority; Velasquez is a silent assassin. The former sells fights, while the latter wins them.
Each tactic has its purposes, but the former is where the money lies.
If I were to say Velasquez deserves the title shot over Overeem, I am saying so in a purely "fairness of the sport" manner.
He got caught, and he is currently paying his price.
If we award him an immediate title shot upon his return, what message does that send to fighters?
If you cheat, yeah, you don't fight for a year, but your dream matchup awaits you when you return.
That makes as much sense as giving Chael Sonnen a microphone at the Democratic National Convention, although I admit that would be pretty amazing.
So, if you want to choose excitement, money and fame, choose Overeem. That is the big ticket.
If you want fairness, integrity and the natural flow of the heavyweight division, choose Velasquez. He has put in the hours, he has looked outstanding and he has earned the shot.
Which will it be?
Overeem or Velasquez?
My vote is in, and it asks for a rematch.
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