Few things bring the awkward to an MMA gym like a high-profile fight between teammates.
Such was the case for the elite JacksonWink camp in Albuquerque, N.M., when it was announced that a pair of the crew's heavyweights, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski, would square off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 87 in Rotterdam.
But after Overeem finished off Arlovski in the second round via TKO on Sunday, the victor says it will go back to business as usual when both return to the gym.
"There was a handshake, there was a lot of respect, we looked each other in the eyes," Overeem said of the postfight scene. "This wasn't a good moment, the whole thing was not good for the team, but I've done the best I could to keep the energy positive, it doesn't have to disrupt anybody. I think the respect is there. It's not going to be gone. I mean, we're obviously going to see each other in the gym. For me there's no bad vibes."
Overeem did his part to keep the peace by agreeing to work with his Netherlands team while Arlovski, who has been at Jackson's longer than Overeem, stayed in New Mexico.
The way Overeem sees it, there's a very short list of elite heavyweight contenders, meaning eventually, it's inevitable teammates in the division will have to square off.
"There are no regrets. It would be stupid to think -- Andrei's a former champion, he's top 10, I'm top 10 -- there's not that many out there. It would stupid to think we would not face each other at some point," said Overeem, who won his fourth consecutive bout. "On another note, we're not training together. We're not sparring together. We're not buddies, we don't hang out. So for me, I think he and I have a great relationship with the coaches, he and I are going to pick up right off where we left off after the fight. I expected to be back in the gym in no time."
For his part, Arlovski did not directly address the teammate vs. teammate situation, simply congratulating Overeem on his victory.
"Of course I'm disappointed, but Alistair is a great fighter no doubt," said the former UFC heavyweight champion, who lost his second straight fight. "Tonight it was his night. I'm going to go back to the gym and i'm going to move forward. I still have great coaches and I have a lot of work to do."