It’s a little easier to skew Alistair Overeem’s UFC career towards the positive this week. Like, for example, UFC 100 was the highest selling pay-per-view event in company history, and it was headlined by Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar, two cold bitter rivals of considerable size. One had a horseshoe lodged in his hindquarters, you might remember, and one was a brute surgeon with extracting tools, beginning with the sword on his thorax. They shattered records as colossuses colliding, to the point that Dana White was talking about jumping off the top of the Mandalay Bay Casino (in celebration).
Overeem beat up both them dawgs in the Octagon. That’s how you squint.
And that he dropped fights to Travis Browne and Antonio Silva loses some taint when you consider he was obliterating each earlier in the fight. Browne, particularly, was on the verge of straying off towards the deadlights before flipping a b-tch (with an assist from referee Mario Yamasaki, who has a high tolerance for taking in someone else’s pain).
The one-time Strikeforce champion could just as easily be 4-0 in the UFC’s heavyweight division, but 2-2 is probably good enough since that division lacks depth and star power. Coming off his tactical victory over Mir -- whom he dominated from bell-to-bell, and sent quakes through his midsection that resonated down through press row -- brings him crashing back into relevance. All of this is good.
It’s good because, if we’re still squinting, it’s easy to make out the fine print: Overeem is where extraordinary happens. He is drama. He doesn’t give a damn. Make fun of him for rolling out to his fights like he’s at the discotheque and he just dances harder the next time. His attitude is the sum total of all the Diaz brothers’ middle fingers. He’s in Thailand to refocus and train? Yes, but let’s not be naïve. The footage was of him on a yacht with bikini-clad women jumping into warm green water. Unce-unce-unce-unce.
Even his testosterone levels have spent time at the top of the charts, making him a thorough self-contained bonanza. He’s a gamble. Remember when he sort of just backed out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, just as carefree as you please? We are dealing in that kind of exquisite pomp, and exquisite pomp, for all its asterisks and whims, is fun to watch play out. And it’s fun to have him winning again, because drama is the name of the game.
So…what do you do with Overeem, who is not really in contention yet though everyone wants him to be? Do you give him Junior dos Santos, who is in a holding pattern after losing two-of-three to Cain Velasquez? That’s the popular idea going around, even as Overeem (mysteriously) calls out Lesnar. They have that bad blood and the history that never did materialize. That would be a fun fight.
Or do you give Overeem somebody like Stipe Miocic, a stone-faced Ohioan who just wants to smash smugness into a fine powder? Or do you brush off the next best thing to Lesnar, his old training bag Chris "The Crowbar" Tuchscherer? Where’s ol’ Mike Russow? Heath Herring?
Here’s what I do, if I’m Joe Silva. I give Overeem Mark Hunt, who is coming off that clear-cut majority draw no-contest decision thing against "Bigfoot" back at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane. They fought at Dream 5 back in 2008, and Overeem got Hunt with a keylock. But that was a million years ago. Everybody tapped out Hunt back then. Since that time Hunt has reinvented himself as a viable heavyweight in the UFC (improbably), and Overeem is still working the turntables.
Hunt/Overeem would be a main event worthy fight as Velasquez awaits the winner of Werdum/Brown. Then again, so would Overeem versus JDS, or Overeem/Bigfoot II, or Overeem/Undereem. Doesn’t matter. Speaking of Werdum, remember when he and Overeem fought in Dallas, and Werdum was pleading with ‘Reem to come down to the ground with praying hands?
Drama. Always drama. Drama's good.
So it doesn’t matter. The point is that the big Dutchman is back, future editions of "The Reem" will be put out, there’s relevance to the heavyweight division (even if we have to squint), and events are again possible.