The UFC officially announced the purchase of Strikeforce by their parent company Zuffa LLC yesterday at a press conference with UFC president Dana White, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
While they were holding the press conference Strikeforce heavyweight champ, and last year’s K-1 kickboxing Grand Prix champion, Alistair Overeem was on The MMA Hour talking about the merger:
“I was shocked when I read it, but I’m very excited,” Overeem told Helwani. “It’s a very big upset in the MMA world, and the fighting world in general. But yeah, my first thought was, I’m excited. … It was a very big surprise to me and to everybody. The gentlemen did a very good job of keeping the big secret. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t see it coming at all.”
“It depends. I’m a positive guy. I see things through a positive lens. It can be really, really the best thing [that] ever happened to the sport, if it’s used positive, and I see that happening. If it’s used negative, then it’s going to be a downfall. But I don’t see that happening. I see this as a good thing, a good development, so I see the sport growing.
“We’re going to have to wait and see how it works out,” Overeem continued. “The fans are going to get to see the fights that are most appealing to them. I think this is what the sport needs to grow, because the sport has grown rapidly, but it’s still not there yet. It still needs to grow bigger. I think [UFC president] Dana [White] wants this and I know I want this as well. We want the fights to be worldwide known. We want everybody worldwide to talk about these fights, like in the old days with Muhammad Ali and [Mike] Tyson, and we’re not there yet. To get there, there’s still some work to be done and I think Dana’s working on that.”
Overeem will fight Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce’s June 18 event in Dallas, Texas. It will be the second installment of the opening round of Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament. Antonio Silva defeated Fedor Emelianenko in the first installment in February and he awaits the winner of Overeem vs Werdum in the semi-finals.