Keiichi Sasahara Explains Alistair Overeem's Absence

DREAM Executive Producer Keiichi Sasahara met with the press Thursday to attempt to clarify the on-again, off-again situation regarding Alistair Overeem's participation at DREAM.15. Well, clarify is probably the wrong word.

"Towards the end of the negotiations, because of reasons that I am not able to tell you, although the two fighters agreed to fight, it happened that these fighters could not fight. It's not because of money, but if the reasons are something that I cannot tell you then you might be able to guess what they would be. Because of that, we are not able to have these two fighters fight."

Ricco Rodriguez was at no point mentioned by Sasahara as Overeem's opponent. Instead, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski was planned.

Sasahara's full statement after the break.

"We really wanted Alistair [Overeem] to fight. Today, unfortunately it is not happening so we will only have seven fights. I have to apologize to the fans who have been looking forward to seeing Alistair fight in Japan. I'm sorry.

"I just want to you explain to you the background of this. Alistair was supposed to fight Andrei Arlovski and they actually both agreed, we were ready to make an official announcement and then of course then the contractual agreement needed to be signed by both fighters. However towards the end of the negotiations, because of reasons that I am not able to tell you, although the two fighters agreed to fight, it happened that these fighters could not fight. It's not because of money, but if the reasons are something that I cannot tell you then you might be able to guess what they would be. Because of that, we are not able to have these two fighters fight.

"So Alistair was supposed to fight at DREAM.15 and we were trying to find new fighters or other fighters for Alistair. We offered the Alistair fight to many different fighters, but Alistair was motivated to Arlovski. Arlovski is not an easy fighter to find a replacement for. And again, we were not able to find a replacement.

"Alistair was supposed to fight Arlovski and we didn't know who was going to be the winner. The winner was then supposed to fight at DREAM.16 in September for the heavyweight championship. But that scenario is now gone. We need to think about whether we will have the championships anyway. Maybe we will move to plan B. In any case, we would like to plan some other fighters for Alistair in the future.

"I think there is a possibility [that the fight will happen in the future]. You know, these two fighters, personally agreed [to fight]. But that didn't happen. Of course we want these two fighters to fight in the future, it would be a great fight. However when we think about fighter's feelings, they might not want to think about it for a while so maybe we should give them some time."

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