Alistair Overeem’s run in the UFC has been anything but successful. Make no mistake about it, when the UFC invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in signing the former Strikeforce, Dream, and K-1 champion back in 2011, they expected an almost instant heavyweight title contender who could draw in fans, get butts in seats, and jack ratings. Someone who could “move the needle” in other words.

What they got was a controversial figure who polarized fans, tainted his best UFC win to date, and proceeded to employ questionable strategies in the cage, finding himself on the wrong end of knockouts against Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. There was a brief glimmer of hope after a three round unanimous decision victory over Frank Mir earlier this year, but lets face it: a win over Frank Mir at this point isn’t much to brag about, as Mir is clearly at the end of his run in the UFC (he’s winless in his last four fights), and on top of that, it’s a fight Overeem should have finished. To be fair to the Reem, he played it safe to ensure he didn’t have a repeat of previous fights where he punched himself out and wound up dropped, but Dana White, the press, and the fans were critical about the lack of a finish in the bout nonetheless.

Which takes us to Overeem’s fight against Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 50 back on September 5th, just over a week ago. Most pundits, The MMA Corner included, expected Overeem to make it past Big Ben. With Overeem’s level of experience, Rothwell’s layoff due to a suspension for high testoserone levels by the UFC, and Rothwell simply not showing the type of game one would expect him to need to get past a skilled, multi-organization champion like Overeem, it seemed like a safe bet. How wrong we all were. Just past two minutes into the Rothwell fight, Overeem found himself looking up at the arena’s lights, heaving been knocked out once again at the hands of a “lesser” opponent.

When it comes to Overeem, fans sometimes take a perverse sense of joy in seeing him knocked out. The common belief is that Overeem is a cheater who achieved his chisiled physique through the use of performance enhancing drugs, something that was whispered for years while Overeem placed his growth from a run-of-the-mill light heavyweight to a jacked 265lb behemoth in just a few years at the feet of hard work and a diet that included horse meat, although there’s no word on just how untainted that horse meat was. When a positive drug test conducted by the NSAC just months after Overeem’s bout with Brock Lesnar confirmed what many had suspected, it became open season on The Reem. His loss to Antonio Silva following his return from suspension was seen by many as karma at work, and cause for celebration.

In short, fans seem to like to see Alistair Overeem get knocked out nearly as much as they like to see him fight, if not more so.

That sort of glee, if somewhat unseemly, has always been a part of combat sports, and not just in the ring or cage either. Fans always want to see the cocky quarterback creamed on the field, or the mouthy pest taken care of on the ice, be it by hit or by fist.

Wanting to see someone beat, or beat up, however, is a far cry from wanting to see them injured or impacted long term. That, sadly, is where we may be at with Alistair Overeem.

Consider this: The Rothwell knockout is Overeem’s third knockout loss (not TKO) in four fights. That’s a lot of damage to take, but add to it the number of knockout and TKO losses Overeem suffered earlier in his career, and you start seeing a prime candidate for dementia pugilistica. In addition to the UFC knockout losses, Overeem also has four other pure knockout losses on his record, an additional two TKO losses, and a submission to strikes. That’s in addition to some decision losses, and numerous battles in the cage that amount to a 37–14 (1)—and that doesn’t count a trio of KO/TKO losses on his kickboxing record.

In short, the Demolition Man has taken a lot of damage himself over the years, and at this point is getting dangerously close to Chuck Liddel levels (Liddel happens to have a knockout of his own over Overeem, from back in Pride in 2003). Three knockout losses in four fights, and in the most recent, he didn’t really get out of the gate. Frankly, it’s not looking good for the hulking Dutch fighter.

Dana White has confirmed that Overeem will get at least one more bout, a move that basically means they’d rather Bellator not snatch him up should the UFC release him. Though his price tag is high—over $250,000 just to show, plus a win bonus—he would be appealing to the Scott Coker fronted organization, but regardless of the cash thrown at him by the UFC or Bellator, at some point, The Reem needs to consider calling it a career. To put it in comparison, Antônio Rodrigo “Big Nog” Nogueira has been knocked out just once in his last five fights, yet many are calling for him to bring his career to an end due to damage inflicted in the cage over the years. In the case of Overeem, who actually has more matches overall, and far more knockout losses, are the voices absent simply because the fighter is unpopular?

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.