Last August, Strikeforce landed the most coveted free agent in mixed martial arts Fedor Emelianenko (31-1). Now, according to Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (32-11), he may be leaving the promotion after just one fight—a victory over previously undefeated Brett Rogers.
After announcing that his next opponent is likely to be Rogers on May 15th, Overeem told MMAJunkie.com that he believes Fedor is avoiding him. Overeem said, “Fedor doesn’t want to fight. His manager doesn’t want to fight. That’s basically the message I’m getting out of all of this. The management said, ‘Yeah, we want to fight Alistair, but first, Alistair must fight somebody else.’ Basically, you need two parties to agree on a fight. Otherwise it’s not going to happen.”
Overeem continued, “And now, I don’t know what is going to happen because I think [Fedor] might want to leave Strikeforce. I’m not really occupied with the situation; I’m just focused on myself and my training.”
Fedor’s status with Strikeforce became unclear when he was not announced as a participant on the April 17th Strikeforce card that will take place in Nashville, Tennessee. The card will be the second for Strikeforce to air on CBS and presents a valuable opportunity to build Fedor’s brand and introduce him to a more mainstream audience. Fedor’s management team, M-1 Global, has often been described as difficult to deal with by UFC president Dana White.
The matchup bet ween Rogers and Overeem is a curious one. Overeem has not defended his Strikeforce title in over two years. Rogers is an unlikely contender for the title after losing to Fedor last November.
Overeem explained the situation saying, “I don’t think it’s going to be for the title because [Brett] lost to Fedor. He’s coming off a loss, so I don’t think they’re going to put it for the title, but it’s up to the promotion.”
Overeem has been fighting overseas and has been criticized for fighting suspect competition. If the fight with Rogers does happen, it should provide Overeem with a solid test and provide fans with an intriguing fight to see where both fighters lie in the heavyweight division.