Alistair Overeem is not only a “cocky” sparring partner, but according to former Blackzilian teammate Gilbert Burns, the UFC heavyweight contender is a sore loser.
“He’s an arrogant man. He’s exactly how he looks to be,” Burns said on the Sexto Round Podcast, per MMAFighting.com's Guilherme Cruz.
Glenn Robinson, CEO of Authentic Sports Management and Overeem’s former manager, announced in January during an appearance on The MMA Hour that Overeem had parted ways with the Blackzilian camp leading up to his UFC 169 bout against Frank Mir.
Initially, the move was perceived as a clean split. Robinson expressed everything as such and even invited Overeem back out to the Florida-based camp if he ever needed a place to train.
But according to Burns, the image of a clean breakup was just a smokescreen to hide the true reason behind Overeem’s sudden departure, per Cruz:
There’s a story that fighters kept in the gym, explained Burns. Guto [Inocente] was recovering from a knee injury, returning to training, and, even with a broken hand, he was beating Overeem up in a striking sparring.
Overeem got mad because he was getting beat up by a guy with one hand, so he took Guto down and blew out his other knee. That’s why Guto hasn’t fought in a while. We were all upset about it, and that was when [Overeem] left the team. After he left, the team got better and we had better results. Thank God he left the team.
MMAFighting.com immediately tracked down Inocente after the allegations broke to get a confirmation on Burns’ story.
“It was a kickboxing sparring. I was kicking his a--, and he took me down. Unexpected,” revealed Inocente.
During his stint with the Blackzilians, frustrations had to be mounting for Overeem, who had incurred back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne.
Since his Octagon debut, it was a foregone conclusion that Overeem would tear through the heavyweight ranks and challenge Cain Velasquez for the UFC title, but things haven’t exactly panned out as expected for the former Strikeforce champ.
After parting ways with the Blackzilians, Overeem put together a temporary training camp in Thailand. He has since joined forces with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Jackson’s MMA.
One thing is certain: Overeem won’t be missed at the Blackzilian camp.
“He’s cocky, and the team got better when he left,” said Burns, via Cruz. “He’s really tough, but he’s not that monster that he appears to be. I saw him get beat up bad in training by Anthony Johnson, Rashad, Vitor and Tyrone.”
When asked to give a response to the allegations, Overeem neither confirmed nor denied Burns’ story, according to MMAFighting.com.
He merely wished his former teammates good luck and admitted that leaving was definitely the right choice.
“Seems to me, without throwing any jabs, that leaving Boca was an excellent choice,” Overeem said, per Cruz. “I wish all my former teammates the best.”
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.