On Wednesday afternoon, M-1 Global released a statement
in which Fedor Emelianenko
was quoted as saying that he now wanted to fight Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem
sooner rather than later.
But when MMA Fighting spoke to Overeem shortly thereafter, he said he had no interest in fighting anyone other than Fabricio Werdum under the Strikeforce banner, and that his next fight will be for K-1 in October.
A transcript of our conversation is below. Ariel Helwani: Have you decided when and where your next fight will be?
Alistair Overeem: Yes, I'm going to fight in the K-1 tournament, so my first fight will be October for the Final 16 in Korea. If I win the fight, I will advance to the Final 8 in Japan. That fight will be in December.Why isn't your next fight going to be for Strikeforce?
I've stated many times that Strikeforce was my number one priority, but after Fedor lost to Werdum, I had no intention of fighting somebody other than Werdum. I came to the States to challenge the winner of the fight and that was Werdum, so no need to fight somebody else. Furthermore, I like K-1 very much and there are not many opportunities to stay fighting in K-1, so I want to fight if I still can. One of my goals is to be K-1 champion and this is my chance.Emelianenko has now said that he would like to fight you by the end of the year. Is that possible at this point?
No, unfortunately not. The reason is because if I enter the Final 16 and win, I will fight the K-1 Final in December. My decision was made because nothing was certain and Strikeforce and M-1 didn't act fast enough when I made my decision to start K-1 training. Now I read on the internet that Fedor and his management want to fight me all of sudden. Do they really need two months of thinking and negotiating? I think it's a little strange to be honest. If Fedor challenged me right after the fight it would have been something to take in consideration, but the M-1 management started to say that all the polls on several websites stated that people rather have a Fedor vs. Werdum rematch then a fight against me. There we have another lie by M-1 because every poll I have read stated the opposite and showed that everybody want to see Fedor versus me. Check their current poll at their own Web site (laughs).Scott Coker recently hinted at the fact that Antonio Silva would be your next opponent. Does a fight against "Bigfoot" interest you?
No, not at all. When I fought Brett Rogers there was much criticism over how the champion could fight a fighter that lost his last fight. If you co-promote with people that have their own demands it's hard to make good and logical fights. If you look at another big MMA organization in the States, you can see that they have a clear road map of who's fighting who and which fighters are entitled to get a shot at the championship belt. Having a clear virtual ranking is one of the reasons they are successful because they can hype fights. You can debate if I'm the number one in Strikeforce using results of the past, but the fact remains that Fedor signed with Strikeforce and chose Werdum instead of me. We all know that in every organization Fedor is more than welcome to fight straight for the belt due to his stature and experience, but if his management decided that they would like a tune-up fight and then Werdum before fighting me they are taking a risk. Fighting in a organization is just the same as climbing a ladder. If you lose, you will fall a couple of steps down and if you win you go up. It's not fair to other fighters that are climbing the same ladder. So to make a long story short, I'm the champion, which means I'm number one, not based on ranking but because I'm wearing the belt.
Number two is clearly Werdum because of his win over Fedor and Antonio Silva. Fedor losing means he's number 3 and Antonio Silva, who came back from a loss against Werdum by defeating Arlovski is clearly the number 4. So in that case, Fedor should fight Antonio Silva and the winner of that fight should fight against the winner of a bout between myself and Werdum. It's just that simple -- it's not rocket science. Does a part of you think that the Fedor fight will never happen now?
If Fedor stays in Strikeforce and beats Antonio Silva and I win my fight against Werdum, then there is a big possibility that I will face him. So I still think I will meet him in the cage eventually.Do you still have an issue with the way M-1 has handled this situation?
Everybody knows that I'm not crazy about those guys. I personally think that they don't know how the US market works. They have a different mentality and culture. The way they use Fedor as a trophy is, in my opinion, not how a management team should work. They should have the interest of the fighter as the number one priority and sometimes I have the feeling that Fedor doesn't know what M-1 is demanding behind his back. I don't want to go in to details so I won't. All I can say is never have I witnessed a management manipulating and using the amount of tricks as Fedor's management has done.Has this whole process been frustrating for you?
In the beginning I took it personally because of the things Vadim [Finkelstein] and M-1 we're saying in the media and I wanted to fight him bad, but now that he lost I was like, 'What goes around comes around.' So now I will move on and focus on my own career.