Alistair Overeem isn't a popular guy lately.
Not that he's ever won a popularity contest with MMA fans, but Overeem has left fans with a sour taste in their mouths following the news that he injured UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in preparation for Jones' fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 178.
Although the injury was pegged as accidental by nearly everyone involved, former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski believes differently. He spoke with Sports.ru (h/t Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan), and the interview was translated by MixedMartialArts.com.
"Now I know that Overeem injured Jon Jones simply because he injures everyone he trains with," Arlovski said.
Arlovski shared his own story about how "The Reem" sent him to the hospital following a round of sparring:
Couple of days ago I sparred with Overeem and learned such outcome by my own experience. Usually sparring partners don't try to inflict a real damage to each other. But Overeem at one moment kneed me really hard in the stomach. In a real fight I could have been KO'ed after that.
I rushed to a hospital to make sure that my ribs are not broken.
Luckily, Arlovski wasn't seriously injured, and his scheduled fight against a returning Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva will go down as planned.
Arlovski's statements echo those made by Overeem's former training partners at the Blackzilian camp in Florida. According to Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan, Gilbert Burns claimed Overeem was "arrogant" and left after blowing out the knee of Guto Inocente during their training sessions.
The injury to Inocente was also caused by an Overeem takedown.
Another former teammate, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson said virtually the same thing as Arlovski, per Fighters Only's Nick Peet (h/t MMA Mania's Adam Guillen Jr.). The surging light heavyweight contender said if UFC matchmaker Joe Silva offered him to fight Overeem, he'd do it in a heartbeat.
Overeem did have a very public fallout from the Blackzilians so it's to be expected that they might not have the nicest things to say about him. But it's an entirely different matter when those kind of statements come from Arlovski, a current member of the Jackson's MMA team.
Former opponent and now teammate Travis Browne has already set the law down on what he (and likely the rest of the team) expects from Overeem joining their ranks.
Of course accidents happen all the time during training, and knee injuries are common during grappling sessions. But Overeem has been in the game long enough to know his own strength, his limits and how to conduct himself in a professional manner behind closed doors.
He's had a negative reputation for years from fellow fighters and fans. Outside of eliminating world hunger, it's not likely to change. The only one who knows if the incident was completely accidental is Overeem, and he will likely continue with the "it was an accident" story.
Accident or not, injuring the best fighter in the world—the face of the Jackson's MMA and one of the few major marketable stars currently in the UFC—isn't the way to endear yourself to the promotion or your new teammates.