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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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SI writer: Evidence for Alistair Overeem as a top HW lacking

Alistair Overeem, who owns about as many heavyweight titles he never defends as he does wins over impressive opponents, is a fraud. At those moments when you are tempted to think that fighting is, for all its bright promise, about the most thoroughly debased sport one can follow, think of this thick rope of Dutch muscle and despair.

This Saturday in Dallas, Overeem will take the first really serious fight he's had in four years, a quarterfinal bout in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. If he beats Fabricio Werdum, it will be, speaking generously, the fourth impressive win in a long career, and the first since 2006. That such things can be said of a man widely, if inexplicably, held to be one of the best heavyweights in the world makes him a fine example of what you might call the B.J. Penn Fallacy.

The Penn Fallacy occurs when a fighter is thought of as top rank despite there being no evidence that he is. It holds theory above practice and style above achievement, and lends support to all promoters who seek to carefully manicure the images of fighters who look or talk a part they can't actually play. It negates the very point of fighting, which is that it is a sport in which a man is wholly accountable for, and judged by, what actually happens in his fights. It is bad, and ought to be done away with.

B.J. Penn deserves to have the fallacy named after him because he is widely thought of as a top welterweight contender despite not having won an important fight in that division since January of 2004, and thought of by many as the uncrowned lightweight champion even though he was thrashed twice by Frankie Edgar, his obvious better, last year. No amount of evidence that Penn is not actually a great fighter will ever convince some large part of the public that he isn't one, because he looks like one, has the physical skills of one, and occasionally does things that a great fighter might do, such as lick an opponent's blood off his gloves. The mere invocation of his name creates a quantum phenomenon, where failures are evidence of superiority and results don't matter.

Similarly, even though there is no real reason to think that Overeem is a top fighter, he is commonly thought of as one. You don't have to ask too many hardcore fans to find one who thinks he ought to get the next shot at the UFC title. You don't have to ask too many more to find someone who thinks he's the best heavyweight alive.

Why is this so? He knocks people out, he has been successful in another sport, he has title belts to wear, and his freakish muscles have muscles of their own to flex. All of this makes him seem like the sort of person who ought to swan around as a great heavyweight. That none of this counts for anything -- that physique doesn't rate in fighting, that a title belt you won by beating a bum and don't defend may as well have been bought on Craigslist, and so on -- doesn't quite seem to matter.

This is bewildering. Overeem has fought 46 times, and has had every opportunity to establish himself as the man. His most impressive wins are a submission of and a decision over Vitor Belfort (himself a great beneficiary of the Penn Fallacy) and a knockout of Sergei Kharitonov. That's it. He spent the majority of his career as a guy good enough to face, but not good enough to beat, real top fighters like Chuck Liddell, Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. What made Overeem's reputation coming into the Grand Prix is a win in a K-1 tournament, which is only slightly more relevant than what he might do in a pickup game on a YMCA court, and a string of wins in the last four years against such has-beens as Mark Hunt, Gary Goodridge and Kaz Fuijita and dubious prospects as Brett Rogers and Todd Duffee. In perhaps his toughest test, a fight against a corpse-like Mirko Filopovic in 2008, he distinguished himself mainly by repeatedly striking his opponent in the groin. Imagine a pro basketball player dunking on fossils at old-timer's games for four years and then beating his chest over it while a cheering section proclaims him the best hoopster alive, and you have the last several years of Overeem's career.

All of this has somehow made him the heavy betting favorite over Werdum, a man who for whatever his flaws has already beaten Overeem, in addition to Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva and Gabriel Gonzaga, among others.

You have to like style in fighting. It would be wonderful if B.J. Penn were some multidisciplinary dynamo capable of holding down titles in multiple weight classes at once, if Vitor Belfort were a uniquely dangerous tactician equally capable of knocking a man out with championship-caliber boxing or tapping him with deadly secrets learned while taking in the inner mysteries of Gracie jiu-jitsu, and if Alistair Overeem were in fact some deadly Dutch cyborg capable of decapitating championship-level heavyweights at will. All of it might be true; there is no reason to think any of it is. Overeem could well win Saturday. If he does, it would be the first time in years he's given the public a reason to take him seriously.

This is a good example of why I don't pay any attention to anything that the MMA media has to say outside of a few quality journalists (most notably Ariel Helwani). This guy is a total assclown.

I've never heard the term "Penn Fallacy" before, but it's unbelievably disrespectful to one of the most decorated fighters in the history of MMA.

The bolded part is funny to me. He won the K-1 GP, he is the Strikeforce HW champ, he hasn't lost in years, and all the top fighters outside the UFC have been ducking him.

I don't like this guy.

Btw I posted it here because The Reem is the main focus.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 04:21 PM
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Sorry Overeem hasn't beaten anybody in MMA that's worth mentioning.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 09:01 PM
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He has some valid points but he ruins them by excessive hyperbole. "Penn fallacy" wtf is that? I'm sure he made that BS up. Also using words like "quantum phenomenon" in an MMA article just comes of as pretentious.

Lets hope The Reem can shut this guy up tonight.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 03:12 AM
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After watching the fight last night I have to say Cain will walk right through Overeem.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by St.Paul Guy View Post
The bolded part is funny to me. He won the K-1 GP, he is the Strikeforce HW champ, he hasn't lost in years, and all the top fighters outside the UFC have been ducking him.
Did you even watch the 2010 K-1 GP? It's amazing how everyone acts like he won it against tough competition.

He beat Ben Edwards, a can. Tyrone Spong, an up and comer who's 30 lbs lighter than him. Saki, who injured his arm. Then a 40 year old Peter Aerts. He'd definitely never have won the GP if Hari or Bonjasky participated. Hell, I bet if he fought Schilt he'd have been demolished.

Overeem isn't as great of a striker as everyone makes him out to be. The only thing he as going for him is power and size.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 07:55 AM
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No amount of evidence that Penn is not actually a great fighter will ever convince some large part of the public that he isn't one.
Considering the Fitch fight, I'm going to go ahead and make a statement:

No amount of evidence that Penn is actually a great fighter will ever convince some of the complete fecking muppets in the MMA media that he is one.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 08:06 AM
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Ok, I read y'alls posts first and was ready to rip this guy a new one for talking about BJ.

Then I read the article...twice looking for quotes to mock..

I agree with him

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Soojooko View Post
Considering the Fitch fight, I'm going to go ahead and make a statement:
I think BJ is close to being one of the greats and Elites(Past,Present), but quiet frankly just isnt one. Elites being (Fedor,Chuck,GSP,Anderson,Matt Hughes FutureElites, Jose Aldo, Cain Valesquez, Jon Jones, Anthony Pettis). Then there is the greats that BJ periodically becomes a part off but imo was never consistant enough to get his own chair (Big Nog,CroCop,Rampage,Shogun,Wanderlei,Dan Henderson,Rich Franklin FutureGreatsJDS,Frankie Edgar,Rashad,Phil Davis,Overeem,Dominick Cruz.
This ranking is of course my opinion, though some are closer to fact then opinion. BJ Penn has visited the Greats room and has possibly even had moments where he stepped inside the room with the Elites. Sadly the man has never been able to maintain consistency so just as any times id see him perform "Great" id see him perform less then average. Also for a VERY VERY long time the guy struggled with cardio. BJ's biggest weakness is also his biggest strength, which is his Natural Talent. It is a shame that i classify him as a good fighter when i think he easily could have been an Elite fighter. If he just took the sport as seriously as someone like GSP does at the start of his career then i wouldnt be surprised if was saw him being at the top of the elite pecking order. Sadly that isnt what we got.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 12:30 PM
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The guy is guilty of some hyperbole, but after watchign the fight itself, he looks pretty right on.

Overeem looked terrible, Werdum could have easily been given the decision. Even with the win, Overeem was basically getting outstruck by a guy who is supposed to be a very mediocre striker.

If you visualize Overeem fighting JDS, Cain, Carwin now, what do you see now? I see Overeem getting obliterated. He did have good TDD, but he seemed so terrified of getting taken down his striking was very ineffective. I can't seem him beating any of the elite UFC heavyweights now. Hell, I'm not sure he could beat Fedor or Silva or Barnett now.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 05:35 PM
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Overeem's striking looked amazin last night!
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