Why Hasn’t Dana White Named a Replacement for Alistair Overeem?

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We all remember the moment we first found out. The sinking feeling in our stomachs. The lumps forming in our throats. Fingers clenching into fists of rage – then extending once more, into digits of righteous keyboard manipulating fury (that sounds oddly like a “King Crimson” song title).

Alistair Overeem had failed a random drug test. Alistair Overeem wasn’t fighting for the UFC Heavyweight title. The epic, awesome collision of high-speed freight trains that was Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem…wasn’t going to happen.

This was pretty much most fan’s reaction. Maybe not word for…same word, but in spirit. Admit it – we were all insecure, middle-aged space captains marooned on a barren rock by a centuries-old genetically engineered super villain the day we found out Overeem vs. JDS wasn’t happening, weren’t we?

But seeing as how this is the internet, we got over it in about 5 minutes and moved on to the next question: who the heck was going to fight for the heavyweight championship now that The Reem horsemeat’d himself out of contention?

The obvious answer was Frank Mir, who was already scheduled to fight at UFC 146 against Cain Velasquez. This would seem to make the most sense, because Mir is coming off some big wins, including the arm break of Big Nog that raised goosebumps (and turned stomachs) the world over. Plus, he’s a known quantity to fans, and just the sort of guy who can sell a fight.

Yet there hasn’t exactly been a groundswell of fan support for another Frank Mir title shot. In fact, folks are reacting to a (possible) Mir/JDS fight the way the fans reacted when Brittney Palmer was “fired”: most don’t care, and a select few are very disgruntled.

Why not Mir? After all, he’s 7-2 in his last 9 fights, and is one of the few heavyweights outside the champ on any kind of meaningful winning streak right now. It might be because his two biggest fights – vs. Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin – were crushing losses, which might have cemented in some fans mind that Mir isn’t “championship materiel”. I saw this complaint levied by more than a few fans when Mir’s name was first bounced around.

It might also have to do with the fact that the last Frank Mir PPV main event (vs. Mirko Cro Cop) caused people to throw bricks through their television sets – assuming they weren’t put to sleep first.

And Cain Velasquez just fought JDS, meaning at best he needs a fight or two to make it back to the title. At worst, he has no business rematching Dos Santos after so crushing a loss.

No joke, I’ve seen more than a few fans take this position. I guess less than one round of action is all we ever need to see between two fighters if it ends dramatically. Good thing we never gave that GSP chap a rematch after Matt Serra KO’ed him in under a round – what would it have proven, anyways?

So we fall back on the outliers, ranging from the wildly improbable (Mark Hunt) to the even more improbable (Fabricio Werdum) to the so impossible I can’t believe it ever gained serious traction (Fedor Emelianenko).

Now don’t get me wrong, I can see the reason why the “Campaign for Mark Hunt” has taken off with hardcore fans like it has. To many fans, Mir vs. JDS (the sensible alternative) already seems like a foregone conclusion, so why not book Hunt vs. JDS? As foregone conclusions go, it should at least be fun while it lasts.

The problem is Hunt’s less-than-stellar MMA record, sitting just above .500. But that’s not a real problem, nor is it the whole story (Randy Couture’s winning percentage was never spectacular). The real problem: I’m pretty sure casual fans have no idea who Mark Hunt is.

Can you just see the fight announcements now? “On May 26, the most feared man in the heavyweight division, coming off an explosive victory on network TV…fights a guy you might have seen on the undercard of those oddly-timed Australian which, if buy rates are to be believed, you probably skipped. ONLY ON PPV!”

Jokes aside, Dana White and Joe Silva have some great options to pick from, and let’s be honest: when it comes to world title fights, the UFC is pretty damn good at convincing us to shell out $49.99 no matter who’s on the docket.

Which is why I’m surprised – downright dumbfounded, really – that Dana White hasn’t announced a replacement for Alistair Overeem.

As of now, The Reem is set to apply for a license to fight at a hearing before the NSAC on April 26. At this hearing, he will have to address the issue of the failed test, and provide a solid reason why he has the testosterone of 14 men in his blood.

There are two things that strike me as odd about this. One, why would Alistair go through the licensing process with the failed test hanging around his neck? If he can’t explain why he tested so high, he’ll be barred from applying for a liscense for a year or more. Other states will uphold this disbarment, meaning it could derail his UFC career for the next year.

And two, why would Dana White and the UFC hold off on announcing a replacement? Even if they are waiting until the hearing before they announce it, it seems an awfully risky move to me. Even if you have a guy secretly training and preparing to “jump in” should Overeem fail, it leaves you only a month to promote the new fight, and will give it a rushed, “last-minute” feel even if it isn’t rushed or last-minute.

So as far as I can see, there’s only one explanation: Overeem has an airtight explanation for his failed test – one that he, his people, and the UFC are willing to stand behind, and one they feel sure will convince the commission to grant him a liscense despite the failed test and all the drama they’ve endured from Overeem since he came to the UFC.

My question to you all is: what could that explanation possibly be?

16 Responses to “ Why Hasn’t Dana White Named a Replacement for Alistair Overeem? ”

  1. Donald Duck says:

    The thing with Reem is that very few people know/care who he is at this point as well. I think the UFC is banking on another bankable European/Asian prospect to further open the doors to their international business. Hunt actually can do this for them so I don’t see that being the reason behind not announcing the fight.

    Let’s face facts; the people that were going to buy this fight card will still buy this fight card regardless of who is in the main event. I think the UFC knows this and that factors into the reasoning behind not announcing the main card. I mean unless they’re prepping Jaleel White to step in and fill the Reem’s shoes (wait, this isn’t Pride’s NYE show is it)…

    I don’t think the UFC caters to the people waiting to decide to buy the card based on the weight of the main event. Those people are most likely debating between the next WWE event and a Monster Truck rally anyways.

    For the people who were only going to buy the card due to Reem there are enough exciting fights on the rest of the card to keep them excited. Mir, Cain, Nelson, Silva, Rosario, Gonzaga, Hunt and Struve and that’s just the main card…

    I’m personally buying the card just to see how many of my buddy’s I can get to bet against Big Country.

    Don

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  2. Aaron says:

    I know this idea might sound farfetched at first, but hear me out.

    Jon Jones has stated he’d like to eventually fight at heavyweight. He has shown few weaknesses in his game while utterly destroying three former champs.

    Now, he and Rashad are due to fight on April 21, which is right before Overeem’s hearing, at which Overeem will undoubtedly be denied his license.

    The UFC has been promoting Jones with statements like “witness greatness” to get you to tune in to UFC 145. Could it be that Dana White is waiting to see if Jones comes out of his match with Evans, unscathed, in shape, and ready to fight another five rounds? What an opportunity – after Jones destroys Evans and DW wraps the belt around his waist, he announces to the world in the ring after the fight that he’s going to give Jones the shot at JDS.

    If, however, Jones gets hurt or loses, then once Overeem is denied then he can just say “OK, Mir will fight for the title.”

    That, to me, seems like a very reasonable explanation as to why there has been no announcement yet.

    Thanks,
    Aaron

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  3. L-Boutin says:

    Pretty simple answer, Dana hasn’t named a replacement because Overeem isn’t officially out yet. They have yet to test his second sample. (unless they did it very recently)

    Bas and the voice actually had some really good arguments/ideas on why the fight may not be off yet. Will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.

    I’d love to see Hunt if the Reem is out.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    Overreem declined to have his B sample tested. UFC has paid money already for his NSAC license application. If he can’t get licensed then look for Mir, Henderson and then either Verdum or Hunt to get the call!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  5. thebrain says:

    Brock is coming back!!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  6. Troy says:

    its fedor since he is not fighting lashley….lol jk i cant even make that comment without laughing. I want to see hunt because he has best chance stand up wise to compete with JDS besides Overeem. I think it will be Mir though. Hendo is too smart to take a fight like that on short notice against someone like JDS. Jones might but thats banking on him not getting hurt. He would have to take JDS down for sure because standing with a lethal heavyweight is a bad idea for Jones. I really hope Hunt gets it. I think thats the best fight and he has done more the TUF 4 cast did to get it lol…we did see what matt serra did with his punching power…anything can happen in mma

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  7. Guns Loaded says:

    Real reason he has not been replaced is he will still be fighting.

    You can only be banned or suspended if you have a fight an they test you with positive results. Also you can be banned if you have a fighters lincense in the state you are fighting and they do a random test on you which you show positive.

    The big man needs to apply for his license April 24 ish which he will be granted and then they will test him again in Nevada. Which if he shows negative he fights and if he shows positive he doesn’t fight.

    Note: Dana has told him get that shit out of your system , hence the application for license was 30days after he tested positive (so it gives time to get it out of his system) now Dana needs Allistar more than Allistar needs him.

    If Dana thought there would be a big road block he would have pulled him asap.

    But then are just my thought :)

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Derek P says:

    even if he tests clean the day of the fight, in my opinion, the damage has already been done. All the benefit of PEDs come in the weeks leading up to the fight when all the heavy training is going on. If Overeem is allowed to fight UFC 145 will be the last one i watch.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. peruvian neckbone says:

    if he doesn’t get approved they will scrap the main event altogether.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  10. harry balls says:

    “Real reason he has not been replaced is he will still be fighting.”

    …dingdingdingdingding! correct answer!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. booboo says:

    If Overeem does fight and wins the belt are they gonna put an * next to his name to show he s a fuckn cheater like Barry Bonds and Mark mac.. and the list goes on… I cant believe Dana is even counting on him at all , he lied to his face and we all KNOW he s a roid monster , any one else would b gone ( starting to remind me of the WWE with all the soap opra BULL SHIT ! ) Putting this guy on the card is a BLACK EYE TO THE SPORT !

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. Hobnot says:

    All you do is read sherdog forums, generate your opinion, and write an article based on all those forum posts you read.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  13. Idolmaker says:

    Hmmmmm I wonder if show time could make 265??????

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Demitri (trev) says:

    You guys will all thumbs down my comment. But your real ignorant if your surprised pro athletes take roids. Hockey baseball football mma. Testing doesn’t mean much. Pick your favorite athletes, and don’t be surprised if he were to get caught.

    Thats being said by personal experience in pro sports and jr leagues. I don’t blame the athletes either with how much pressure there is

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. M2977 says:

    Word life dog,word life,its awesome to know that there are other smart guys out there,the truth about roids and sports and how many s-ds there are out there who just dont know whats up is pathetic,look at all the garbage people still say about weed,how many athletes have to get caught with it before people realize that it DOES NOT harm an athletes performance,look at nick diaz,the biggest pothead out there but hes also a top 5 170 pounder no matter whether you like him or not, peace to you bro

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Elton Hobson says:

    @Hobnot yeah but you’ve gotta admit, they’re a little better written than your average Sherdog post :p

    In all honesty, I haven’t visited Sherdog in 4 years.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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