While Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 3-0 SF) will no longer compete in Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix, he will compete again under the promotion's banner.
) today confirmed with UFC president Dana White that the Strikeforce heavyweight champion is still under contract with the promotion and will return to action when a nagging tor injury is healed.
"Sept. 10 was the date Showtime wants us to go, so it's the date we've got to go," White said. "It's unfortunate that Alistair is unavailable, but situations like this are why there are alternates in the tournament."
Overeem today revealed on MMA Fighting's "The MMA Hour" that the promotion requested he return to action against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) on Sept. 10. However, the Dutch striker said he asked for more time and preferred an October booking.
With the company planning for a September event to host the promotion's heavyweight grand prix semifinal bouts, some obvious tension was built. Overeem said the company threatened his release even before today's official announcement.
"What's going to happen next, I don't know," Overeem told MMA Fighting. "I've had some threats of cutting me out of the tournament if I don't participate. I don't know if they're going to do it."
Overeem's publicly stated position was that the Sept. 10 date was too soon to return to action and that he needed time for a broken toe to heal.
MMAjunkie.com learned from several sources that Overeem may be posturing in hopes of better terms on a new contract. It's believed his current Strikeforce deal has just one fight remaining.
However, White declined to comment on any potential ongoing negotiations.
According to the UFC boss, it's simple. Overeem is hurt, but the show must go on.
"Overeem is under contract, and when his pinky toe heals up, we'll get him another fight," White said.