LAS VEGAS -- From the sound of things, Alistair Overeem may have clawed his way out of Dana White’s doghouse and back into the good graces of the UFC. All it took was a willingness to show up at the Zuffa offices and wait for an audience with the UFC president, which is apparently exactly what the former Strikeforce and K-1 champion did.
Following Saturday night’s UFC 148 press conference, White told reporters that Overeem, who tested positive for elevated testosterone levels following a surprise drug screening by the Nevada State Athletic Commission back in March, had come to the Las Vegas office to meet with company co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. When White saw him, he said, he immediately went into his office and shut the door.
"And he went downstairs and waited for forty minutes until I called him upstairs, and then came into my office like a man," said White, who, just a couple months ago, insisted he was too upset with Overeem to even speak about him, much less to him. While White wouldn’t divulge exactly what the former top heavyweight contender had to say about his issues with the commission, it seems White liked what he heard.
"Nothing but respect for Alistair now," he said. "We all make mistakes and we all do stupid s--t. I say this all the time. It’s all in how you handle yourself after. He handled himself like a f---ing stud."
While it’s nice to be back on White’s good side, it doesn’t change Overeem’s current licensing situation. He’s stated a desire to fight on the UFC’s year-end card in Las Vegas, but can’t reapply for a license in Nevada until December.
He lost his last shot at the UFC heavyweight title when the drug test resulted in the denial of his conditional license, necessitating his late removal from the main event of UFC 146 in May. Would the UFC really take a chance of promoting another heavyweight title fight featuring Overeem before it knew for sure whether he’d have a license in time to take the fight? On that point, White remained non-committal.
"He’s doing all the right things now," White said. "He’s fixing all the wrongs. We’ll see what happens."
At least now Overeem’s boss can hear his name without having his temper rise to a boil. It may not be much, but it’s a start.