Naw, playa. Fighting, when done right, is a job. When done wrong, it's a criminal offense, or at the very least a way to get kicked out of your favorite bar. The wise pugilist knows that if people are paying to see him, some of that money should find its way into his pocket, if only so he can pay for his stitches and Jägerbombs after the fight.
It is with this in mind that we award this year's GDP Award (or as "King" Mo Lawal would say, the Get Dat Paper Award) for MMA's most ambitious cash-stacking, money-making hustler to none other than Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem. [pause for confused applause]
K-1 World Grand Prix Photos
Okay, I know what you're thinking. How can a guy who has spent less than four minutes in the cage so far this year win such a prestigious award? He's only had one MMA fight in 2010, for crying out loud. This choice defies logic!
To that I would say, firstly, calm down. Seriously. You're going to give yourself a stroke, and that will utterly ruin your New Year's plans. Unless your plans included staring at the floor and re-learning how to use a fork, in which case, you should look into cosmic bowling instead.
Second, I realize that, on paper, Overeem's been an absentee fighter this year. If he were missing in action because he was off doing some terrible movie or renegotiating and already renegotiated contract, I'd agree that he was deserving of no praise whatsoever.
But Overeem is one of the rare fighters who didn't fight much in 2010 because he was doing another kind of fighting. And doing very well at it. And getting paid, by all indications, quite handsomely.
"The Reem" may have only had one MMA fight in 2010 – a first-round TKO of Brett Rogers – but he also had five K-1 matches, eventually winning the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix earlier this month. Three of those K-1 bouts came in one night. Another was just a little over a month before his fight with Rogers. Considering that it was a month that involved flying from Holland to Tokyo to St. Louis, we can at least give the man credit for being willing to endure serious jetlag in his paper chase.
But okay, why should you care about K-1, anyway? This website isn't called K-1Fighting.com, after all. What gives?
For one thing, we have to remind ourselves that Overeem did dabble in MMA during last year's Dynamite!! show on New Year's Eve in Japan. Since it's already tomorrow in Tokyo, I'd argue that kind of counts. Sort of.
He's also slated for this year's NYE event, and while he rarely fights top competition on December 31st (see also: last year's NYE fight), it's still a paying gig, and Overeem seems to be one of the few foreign fighters that FEG won't blatantly stiff, possibly because he is terrifying.
For another thing, look around at Strikeforce's heavyweight division. There's Fedor, who Overeem spent months calling out, only to be ignored by the M-1 Global crew. There's Werdum, who's been out with an injury ever since beating Fedor. Then there's...well, not a whole lot else.
Overeem's the champ, which means he can't just fight any joker who eats his way to heavyweight. He has to fight a legit contender, or at least as close to one as Strikeforce can get (no offense, Brett, but you were coming off a loss). With Fedor and Werdum both unable or unwilling to fight him for most of 2010, what do you want the guy to do? Sit around and scratch lottery tickets?
I guess he could have done that. Instead, as Jeffrey Lebowski would say, Overeem went out and achieved anyway. He achieved big time, in fact, becoming the first man to hold both a major MMA title and a K-1 Grand Prix title. In the process, he stacked that paper like Dunder Mifflin, and that's what I really respect.
Go on, Overeem. Get your money, son. Get paid, playboy. Then make some smart investments for your future, taking into account all applicable taxes, inflation rates and a career lifespan that is considerably shorter than the average wage-earner, dog.
Once that's done, please come back to MMA. We miss you. And if you can find a way to get in the cage with Fedor, we're willing to pay to see it. We promise.