Sources confirmed yesterday that Strikeforce Heavyweight and K-1 Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) will not be participating in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals in September.
The Dutch kickboxer defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu aficionado “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) in what many considered a less than impressive three-round affair last month. With his victory, Overeem advanced to the tournament semi-finals where he was slated to take on “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2).
The reasons behind Overeem’s withdrawal thus far have been relatively vague, though the Strikeforce heavyweight king told MMA Fighting yesterday that he felt the September 10 match-up against “Bigfoot” was too close on the heels of his June 18 bout against Werdum, and that he needed more time to heal and rest, further stating that he went into his tournament quarter-finals match-up with a broken toe.
The news apparently is not sitting well with the Zuffa brass, who promptly replaced “The Demolition Man” with undefeated up-and-comer Daniel Cormier (7-0). The former Olympian Cormier is coming off a dominant performance over seasoned MMA veteran “The Snowman” Jeff Monson (37-12) at the June 18 Strikeforce event. He now will face off against “Bigfoot” Silva in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament semi-finals later this summer.
Overeem told MMA Fighting, “What’s going to happen next, I don’t know. I’ve had some threats of cutting me out of the tournament if I don’t participate. I don’t know if they’re going to do it. Personally, I don’t like to be threatened.”
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