Friday night’s victory for Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (34-11) was a bit anti-climactic. Many fans were excited to see “The Demolition Man” back fighting in an MMA match against an opponent with knockout power, but most likely wanted to see how long it would take for the Dutch fighter to dispose of Todd Duffee.
On the line was the DREAM interim heavyweight championship title, something DREAM officials probably hadn’t planned on doing just yet.
Following his successful bid to capture this years K-1 World Grand Prix title earlier in the month, Overeem lobbied to fight on the Dynamite!! event but only if it would be for the vacant DREAM title. It was a move by the Dutch fighter which left DREAM officials with little option but to find an opponent and put the belt up for the winner. DREAM would have probably preferred to build up a title bout but looked at their options and simply wanted to ride the wave of popularity Overeem is currently enjoying in Japan.
This is one of those rare times when we see a fighter take his destiny into his own hands by pulling the strings by making an organization dance to his tune. Certainly Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko could be used as another example but from what we’ve seen, Fedor seems oblivious to most of what goes on when negotiations are made for him and everything is done in the interest of M-1 Global instead.
With only twenty days from the end of the K-1 World Grand Prix to the night of the Dynamite!! 2010 event, DREAM officials were left scrambling to find an opponent worthy of a DREAM heavyweight title match.
None of the Strikeforce heavyweights were willing to step up on short notice, despite the fact that they are all chasing Overeem for his Strikeforce title. Or maybe none of them stepped up because DREAM didn’t offer enough money, or maybe it was DREAM’s reputation for failing to pay fighters on time, just ask Bob Sapp.
The only two fighters to step up were Bobby Lashley, who apparently asked for a six figure payout, and Todd Duffee who reportedly got payed $60,000 for his 19 seconds of work on Friday night.
If Duffee was looking for a quick payday then he achieved his goal but he’s going to have some hard work ahead of him if he ever wants to return to the octagon. Maybe he looked at the fight as a way to introduce himself to Japanese fans, they are always interested in big men with lots of muscle, maybe they’ll adopt him there?
Right or wrong, Overeem has put himself near the top of the heap as far as popularity goes despite being ranked outside of the World’s top five heavyweight fighters.
It may not have been classy to force DREAM into putting a title on the line but at least Overeem is willing to back up his win by taking on all challengers.
“I’m very proud of becoming the DREAM champion today,” Overeem stated at the post fight press conference. “I’m ready to defend it against anybody, anybody in the World, anybody who is listening. Please come and challenge me in the DREAM ring and I will defeat you.”
So it’s left to the worlds heavyweight fighters to step up and take “The Demolition Man’s” titles away. He’s accomplished all of his goals in 2010 and instead of him chasing after opponents he’ll wait for them to come to him now.
“All my goals for 2010 are met. I became the champion for three organizations Strikeforce, K-1 and Dream. There is nobody who I want to fight, they can come to me. They can challenge me and I will always accept.”