Alistair Overeem (33-11 MMA, 3-0 DREAM) will not fight Ricco Rodriguez (42-11 MMA, 0-0 DREAM) at DREAM.15 – and he may not fight in the promotion ever again, according to his representative.
Martin De Jong, who trains and co-manages the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, said his camp will talk to DREAM representatives at the end of this week to determine Overeem's future in the Japanese promotion.
"Right now, I can just say he's not going to fight Ricco, and he's not sure if he's going to fight in DREAM," De Jong today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
MMAjunkie.com first reported Tuesday that verbal agreements were in place for the July 10 bout, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. In fact, DREAM officials had distributed bout agreements and planned to announce the fight this week.
Rodriguez's agent, Ken Pavia, today said that he holds a signed contract for the bout. De Jong, though, said there's no such paperwork on his side.
"I didn't get any contract, and Alistair didn't agree, so it's not going to happen," he said.
The trainer said Overeem has no problem fighting Rodriguez and that the decision to skip the July 10 date stems from other issues with the promotion. However, he declined to divulge details.
It's unclear how Overeem can sidestep his contract if he chooses not to fight for the Japanese promotion. The heavyweight signed a multi-year, multi-fight agreement with DREAM in 2009 that drew the ire of stateside fans who said he neglected his duty to defend his Strikeforce belt.
Most recently, Overeem pulverized Brett Rogers in May at "Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery" to defend his title for the first time in since winning it nearly three years ago.
Following Fabricio Werdum's upset of Fedor Emelianenko at this past Saturday's "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Werdum" event, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Overeem could meet either Emelianenko or Werdum in his next stateside fight.
Pavia said DREAM has assured him that Rodriguez still will fight on the July 10 card, though an opponent has not yet been solidified.