I couldn’t believe the words coming out of Alistair Overeem’s mouth Thursday on Spike’s MMA Uncensored when it came to his plan for how a late-December battle against UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos could be possible.
Despite being eligible to have his license reinstated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 27th — just a mere two days before the UFC’s expected final event of the year — Overeem revealed he and his team are going to approach the NSAC this month in an attempt to get his license reinstated early on the basis of “good behavior.”
Good behavior. This coming from someone who literally ran away from attempts to test him following a March press conference, someone who had elevated levels of testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratios of 14:1 when the limit is 6:1 and someone who had to be pulled from a title fight against dos Santos because of that ratio.
Between this news and dos Santos’ recent attempts to bypass Cain Velasquez to fight Overeem instead, the situation is simply a joke from all angles.
Why doesn’t the dos Santos/Overeem fight make sense right now? Click after the jump.
The Logistics Don’t Add Up
Before Overeem’s revelation Thursday, I was baffled why anyone was taking this possibility seriously. Take a step back: the UFC would be putting a main event fight on a major card in the hands of a commission two days before it’s supposed to happen. What if they say no? What if something else happens? Has there even been a case in pro sports where this big a risk would be taken just two days before an event?
In the rest of the sports world, this would be perceived as lunacy. Imagine if the New England Patriots were set to take on the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, but we wouldn’t be sure the game would be played until the Friday before based on what a committee decided. That would be the lead story for months on every newscast around the world. Is that type of attention — albeit on a much smaller level — what MMA needs?
Privilege & Precedent
Call me old fashioned in my thinking, but Overeem lost his No. 1 contender status when he failed to meet the NSAC requirements. His actions resulted in the top two fights of a major show needing to be shifted around, thereby affecting other fights for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, former champ Velasquez took care of business quickly and brutally in a first round annihilation of Antonio Silva on the same card that dos Santos successfully defended his belt against Frank Mir. In the current market, It seems to be routine that former champions are getting shots left and right when they don’t necessarily earn it. In this case, Velasquez earned it, while Overeem sat at home.
I realize that the fight game isn’t exactly filled with honest people and the right decisions being made. But Overeem should have to win at least one fight before getting another title opportunity. I don’t care what he did outside the UFC. He had his chance and he blew it. Luckily, a great look, a division devoid of legit top challengers and just one win can get him right back in the driver’s seat.
But Overeem needs to earn that opportunity, unless you’re among those that feel that his license denial simply puts him in a period of stasis rather than back in line.
Dos Santos/Velasquez II Is A Great Fight
By now, we know both guys were hurt going into their first clash last November, a quick knockout of an uncharacteristically bad Velasquez. Flash back to his fights leading into that title bout. Nine straight wins and back-to-back first round T/KO wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar. He looked dominant and among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Suddenly, it’s hard to get excited for a rematch when both guys should be healthy? The Velasquez we saw in November was physically not the same guy who took the title from Lesnar rather effortlessly months prior. There’s plenty to look forward to when these two go at it again, a fight where Velasquez has a great chance to get that belt back.
And why is dos Santos suddenly so eager to fight Overeem next? Does he think it’s an easier fight? Are we to believe Overeem’s taunts have really riled him up that much that he needs to throw down before year’s end? There will be plenty of time for these two to battle in the next 12 months and with the amount of events UFC has on tap for 2013, they will need big fights.
And if somehow dos Santos/Overeem does happen before dos Santos/Velasquez II, where does that put the former champion? He’s sat long enough and needs to fight again, but there’s no other obvious next opponent for him. Dos Santos is the logical matchup from all angles, so why would this even be considered?
No matter how good you are in athletics, there are times when you must pay the price for your sins. Overeem got lucky with just a nine month slap on the wrist from the NSAC and the loss of an opportunity to compete. By giving him the next shot at dos Santos, the message in that penalty would be lost completely and make the UFC look foolish in the process.
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