UFC Fight Night 50: Goodbye Alistair Overeem, We Hardly Knew Ye

Matthew Ryder@@matthewjryderFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2014

Bruce Fedyck/USA Today

You know what you probably don't remember? The time when Alistair Overeem's menace matched his physique.

What's worse? It wasn't even that long ago. At least chronologically it wasn't. If you're measuring it in performances, it might as well have been happening in Victorian England.

Overeem was a UFC outsider, a lanky 205-pounder in Pride who had developed into an unstoppable monster in both the MMA and kickboxing worlds. He was the first guy to hold major titles in both sports, and he even established a footprint in North America by winning the Strikeforce heavyweight title.

Still, there were questions. People were baffled by how he could transform so wildly over the course of a few years, and his general evasion of most jurisdictions with an even halfway credible athletic commission did nothing to quell the speculation.

But then, with plenty accomplished and only one title left to add to his mantel, the Dutchman decided to swim with the big fish. He signed with the UFC in 2011 for a massive bout with former champion Brock Lesnar, and the process of proving himself for real commenced.

Only it didn't.

Though he beat Lesnar convincingly, the subsequent months were a disaster.

He failed a drug test that cost him the entire calendar year of 2012 as well as a title shot and provided fuel for everyone who had questioned his physical legitimacy over the years.

When he returned, Antonio Silva knocked him out about as nastily as one could imagine. Then Travis Browne topped even that a few months later, and Overeem was fighting for his job instead of for world titles.

He listlessly bested Frank Mir in his next bout before Ben Rothwell stopped him at Fight Night 50 on Friday. The loss plants him firmly in the throes of mediocrity at 2-3 and provides an excellent case for him to be released from the promotion.

On merit he has almost no claim to stay with the UFC, and his considerable salary likely isn't helping that cause either. Really, the only way he'll be saved is by the sheer lack of impact heavyweights available in the sport—a group that, truthfully, probably doesn't need Overeem anymore.

It's incredible to consider that the man who was on top of the world outside of the UFC and dominant in his debut has been such a dud since. He might be the worst piece of talent the UFC has invested in this decade, serving as nothing beyond a PED headache and an expensive piece of in-cage fodder at times.

But at least we'll have the times before he joined the UFC, when the allure of not knowing was far more exciting than anything we learned once he made the jump. What we have now is just a shame.

 

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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