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The rise and fall of Alistair Overeem

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Alistair Overeem

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Taro Irei

11 career loses. Six by T(KO). Never before has a fighter with those numbers amongst their statistics, been praised by MMA fans everywhere, as often as Alistair Overeem has been. Fans all over the world were calling him the next big star, future UFC Heavyweight Champion, and the best striker in MMA today.

Now, whether or not he deserved such accolades, is up for you to decide. On the surface it appears as though this is going to be a negative article that does not favor Overeem. If you believe that, you are absolutely right. Quite frankly, Overeem has this coming, it just took longer for it to happen. I truly believe that fighters like Overeem need to be humbled sometimes. In the fight game, the only way to be humbled, is to be on the receiving end of a knockout or submission.

This is exactly what happened to Overeem, as he was on the receiving end of one of the most vicious knockouts that I have ever seen. That knockout came courtesy of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva this past Saturday night at UFC 156. Had Overeem won that fight he would have “earned” a title fight against Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez.

All he had to do was beat Bigfoot, which is something he should have done, right? Wrong! Yes, he should have been the betting favorite. Yes, he is a more talented fighter than Silva. But to think that he was going to walk over Silva, is a mistake that I made, and that you all made as well.

Leading up to the fight, Overeem would tell anyone that would listen that he was going to destroy Bigfoot. Look, fighters say cliché things all the time, but destroy? That is a heavy word to use in the fight game. When you say that you are going to destroy someone, you might as well sucker punch the fighter in the process. It is a sign of disrespect.

Make no mistake about it, Silva felt disrespected. Not just by Overeem, but by the fans that had the same thought process as Overeem. Still, Bigfoot just waited for his opportunity to shine. Fast forward to the fight itself, and what we got was an uneventful first two rounds. Overeem appeared as though he was going through the motions and just toying with Silva. Big problem considering Bigfoot is a man that cuts a ton of weight to make 265.

Overeem kept his hands down most of the first two rounds while having a smug look on his face. He even smirked at Silva several times. Overeem could have finished the fight whenever he wanted, but instead, he chose to send a message to Silva. Problem is, Silva did not get the message as he blasted Overeem with a barrage of punches early in round three.

This barrage is something I will never forget as Overeem was out on his feet getting blasted with punch after punch before finally succumbing to the onslaught and falling to the mat against the cage. You call that a phenomenal comeback and a huge upset. I call it, justice served. Overeem had that coming. This might sound harsh, but he deserved it.

There is something to be said about humility, and Overeem has not displayed any in quite some time. The mockery he made of the sport by not only taking Silva lightly, but also for his previous positive test for elevated testosterone is the ultimate black mark on his legacy. He made fools out of everyone. You all bought into what he said.

When it comes to PED’s in other sports, I could not care less. But, in MMA? Doing so is not only gaining an unfair advantage, but it also extremely dangerous and irresponsible. We all know about Brock Lesnar’s battle with diverticulitis. What would have happened if he had badly injured Lesnar in that fight at UFC 141? PED’s don’t belong in this sport. Alistair Overeem showed no regard for that rule, and yet he is looked at by countless fans as a larger than life superstar in MMA.

For years, it has been crystal clear that Overeem was gaining an unfair advantage, after all, this was a man who fought for so long in the light heavyweight division in Pride. My memories of him back then were that he was a lanky light heavyweight with very good skills. Overeem would find success in Pride as he would win fights over the likes of guys like Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn, and Sergei Kharitonov. As good as those wins were, what is equally impressive, if not more so, is the fact that he left pride on a three fight losing streak.

Those loses came to Rogerio Nogueira by TKO (corner stoppage), Ricardo Arona by submission (punches), and to Shogun Rua by KO (punches). Overeem would leave pride and would pick up a win against Michael Knapp, before getting knocked out by Sergei Kharitonov on September 17, 2007.

You might be wondering how this is relevant. The answer is that the loss to Sergei would be the last time Overeem would drop a fight until this past Saturday; a span of five years, and five months. This is where things begin to unravel. Not counting this past Saturday’s loss, Overeem went 11-0, with one no contest after that loss to Kharitonov. He earned impressive victories over—-and over—-and then there was—-. I know what you are thinking; Izzy forgot to type in the names. Truth be told, Overeem did not beat anyone that was worth mentioning.

For all you smart alecs that say that he submitted Mark Hunt; remember that Sean McCorkle did as well. The only two men of note who Overeem defeated were Fabricio Werdum and Brock Lesnar. The former wouldn’t engage in the fight at all, and the later was coming off of a second fight with diverticulitis.

So you see; Overeem was the same fighter all along. He is a very good fighter who loses to highly ranked fighters. The problem with Overeem is that he bought into his own hype. He fed the fans a ton of nonsense, and in the process, he himself believed it. He thought he was the best heavyweight on the planet, when all along, it was clear that he wasn’t. Contrary to what fans of his might think; a very good light heavyweight does not turn into an elite heavyweight overnight. If he does, chances are as was evident in Overeem’s case, that he had some help along the way.

For the much softer looking Overeem, the time has come to re-evaluate his career. For his fans, this might seem rough, but the truth is, what he did to us and got us to believe, was far harsher. The rise of Overeem, although fictional, was incredible. His fall, well, let’s just call it legendary.

Watch highlights from Alistair Overeem’s kickboxing and MMA careers in the video below.

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Izzy (have 12 posts in total)
Israel (Izzy) was born in The Bronx, New York and has two younger siblings. After high school he joined the United States Navy where he served from October 2003 to October 2007. He now calls Homestead Florida home, which is located southwest of Miami. He is currently taking on-line college courses and hopes to earn a Bachelor's degree in Communications with a Concentration in Journalism. Covering and writing about MMA is his biggest passion in life.