Overeem: A Positive Could Have Been Very Negative for Strikeforce

Posted: May 22, 2010 in Commentary/Opinion

Typically when drug tests come back negative after an event, it’s all but a formality.  No one, especially the parent company/promoter/fighter ever makes a big deal about it.  Why?  Because no one wants to ever suggest that a positive result was even a possibility.  Of course it’s negative, that’s how we roll.  Well, this week another series of negatives came back and again they are flying somewhat under the radar…or at least being downplayed in public.  Brushed off as if it’s nothing.  Nothing at all.

In reality, the negative test that came back for Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem had to result in one very large sigh of relief from the Strikeforce brass.  Behind closed doors of course.  Now I’m not going to delve into the argument of urinalysis vs. blood tests as a more reliable method of testing for steroids and other banned substances.  I won’t dwell on the cynical “he could have beat the test” argument.  Instead lets take a look at what a true positive result could have done to Strikeforce.

As the distant number 2 promotion, Strikeforce found itself in a precarious position in the first half of 2010.  The company was beginning to ramp up for a big-time event on CBS, which would be viewed by millions of current and (more importantly) potential Strikeforce fans.  They began positioning themselves for a major breakthrough on the CBS card in April.  A rumored return of Fedor, their mythical, larger than life, more powerful than Chuck Norris uncrowned champion of all humanity would surely be a blockbuster on free tv.  In another match we might see Bobby Lashley, the promotion’s own crossover fast-rising superstar; basically Strikeforce’s version of Brock.  Yes, he’d surely be a hit on CBS.  He would surely beat his foe by submission with just one flick of his right pec.  And, what the heck…might as well include a match–no, a title match–for newly acquired free agent Dan Henderson.  That would really send a message to everyone, the UFC included, when Hendo destroys the rumored-to-UFC Jake Shields.  Heck, Dana can have Shields, we got Hendo–the guy who’s gonna send Shields packing. Just give him the belt now.  How could this game plan fail?

Fast forward a couple of months and what did we see?  Well, a Fedor appearance never came to fruition.  Neither did Lashley.  Hendo was still there though.  His face would be plastered all over the posters, surrounded by a handful of other stars with some shiny hardware, some very impressive resumés and some cool nicknames too–Aoki, Melendez, Mousasi, King Mo.  Oh yeah, and Shields too, but he’s gonna lose anyway.  Good riddance.  Say hi to Dana.

That’s when the wheels really fell off.  All 3 televised matches went the distance; not a good way to grab the attention of the casual fan.  Mousasi, the light heavyweight champ being pushed by the announce crew as a smaller, but like-minded and equally talented version of Fedor, looked nothing like Fedor.  Except perhaps for the disinterested look on his face.  Who would have known he’s fight disinterested as well.  He lost to the one-dimensional King Mo.  And he lost in a bad way–boringly (is that a word?  If not, CBS viewers what I mean).  Melendez/Aoki would surely put on a show.  In fairness, Melendez was the only guy who somewhat impressed me that night.  Aoki, not so much.  Oops.  Already risking a nationwide epidemic of narcolepsy due to the time of the evening, the chosen one, Hendo, the new face of Strikeforce, looked ridiculous.  Shields owned him.  Are you kidding?  Jesus, I hope he doesn’t give the belt to Dana.  What else could go wrong?  Well, how about an ugly post-match brawl to put a black eye on the entire sport?  And to cap it off, maybe the announcers could even say that type of thing often happens in MMA.  Huh?  Just icing on the cake.  I won’t even get into Mauro Ranallo’s awkward show-ending arm-squeeze, neck rub and fingers-thru-the-hair of Jake Shields (perhaps a slight exaggeration, but let’s not nit pick).  I digress, sorry.

Not a good showing.  Not a good chain of events.  Not for the company running second in a 2 horse race.  Not for anybody.  So the question to ask now isn’twhat does Alistair Overeem’s negative test result mean to Strikeforce?”  The real question is this…

What would a positive test result for Alistair Overeem have meant to Strikeforce?



  1. […] of Strikeforce’s challenges earlier this year were documented here. Since that time, we saw them continue to treat Jake Shields—the guy who beat their savior Dan […]

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