by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
Alistair Overeem’s international calendar just got more crowded.
The 29-year-old Strikeforce heavyweight champion is expected to face original “Ultimate Fighter” alum Sam Hoger at Glory 11 on Oct. 17 in his home city of Amsterdam.
Triple Crown Fighter’s Steve Ruisch, who brokered the deal for Hoger, told MMAWeekly.com Monday afternoon that the deal was “95 percent finalized.”
Overeem recently appeared in a promotional video for Dream 12, to be held eight days after Glory 11 in Osaka, Japan. His opponent was unnamed. The event will be Dream’s first to utilize a hexagonal cage.
It has been almost two years since Overeem won the Strikeforce belt against Paul Buentello at the promotion’s lone MMA tournament, “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives,” in November 2007. He was twice scheduled to make his U.S. return this year, but a lingering hand injury forced him to withdraw from bouts in April and June.
Since then, several reports have questioned Overeem’s contractual status as well as his motivations for staying overseas.
In an interview with MMAWeekly.com last month, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker asserted there were no serious issues between his promotion and the Dutch fighter.
“I’ve read all the blogs and statements about Golden Glory and what they’re saying, Alistair not honoring his contract,” said Coker. “That’s all stuff I call the National Enquirer gossip. We’re not going to respond to that. We know Alistair’s going to be fighting in Strikeforce. We have an agreement. The relationship is strong. They’re thankful that we’re letting them fight in Dream. But I still think Alistair is going to be a champion in Strikeforce that’s going to be a formidable opponent for either Fedor (Emelianenko) or Brett Rogers.”
Coker said his agreement with Overeem wasn’t beholden to other promotions, but based instead on professional courtesy.
“In the past, we’ve always used the K-1 agreement, and they fought for us because I asked K-1 or Dream or Pride at the time, can I use Vitor Belfort, can I use Alistair Overeem?” Coker continued. “And they said sure. Now, with the relationship with CBS and Showtime, we have direct contracts with Alistair that have nothing to do with Dream. He’s obligated to fight, it’s just scheduling the time now.”
Finding that time, it appears, is the hitch. When Strikeforce makes it’s CBS network debut on Nov. 7 in suburban Chicago, Emelianenko and Rogers will be front and center.