Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem recently added two belts to his collection: the prestigious K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix belt and the Dream interim heavyweight championship belt. Despite his recently collected accolades, Overeem is often criticized as being overrated and accusations of steroid usage are often bandied about as a result of his semi-recent bulking up.
In a recent conversation with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani, Overeem was asked if he felt disrespected by any of his critics, namely Russian MMA great Fedor Emelianenko and his management team M-1 Global. “The Demolition Man” told Helwani that they do disrespect him, but that M-1 Global is the antagonist, not Emelianenko.
“I don’t think they respect me at all as a fighter and if you look at their actions… All the allegations (that they’ve made), their decline to fight me on several occasions, the Brett Rogers fight and after–they’re full of tricks, and I think people know that,” Overeem said of M-1. “They see through it. Not to take anything away from Fedor. Fedor’s a nice guy, I respect him as a fighter, but his management are just d***heads and they’re just using tricks.”
In regards to Overeem’s status as a heavyweight in MMA, UFC president Dana White recently said that it is illogical to consider “The Reem” a top ten heavyweight, since he only competed in MMA twice last year, against less than top tier opposition. Unlike M-1 Global, White openly maintains a level of respect for Overeem and has indicated that he would be welcome in the UFC. Though Overeem disagrees with White’s criticism, he understands where it comes from and intends to prove this year why it is untrue.
“I believe I am, he believes I’m not, so there’s an argument there,” he said. “The only thing that you could say about it is that I have not fought enough in MMA, but that’s gonna change. That’s gonna happen this summer in the Strikeforce Grand Prix, and after this Grand Prix it’s gonna be very clear who’s number one.”
Overeem will begin his quest for respect when he faces Fabricio Werdum, the first man to defeat Fedor Emelianenko, in the quarter final round of the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, with their match to likely take place this April 9th in Japan.