by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is still struggling with complications from a hand injury sustained in a bar brawl and will not be able to defend his title against Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce “Carano vs. Cyborg” on Aug. 15.
Multiple sources who asked not to be named reported the news to MMAWeekly.com on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
Overeem was taken to an area hospital following the May brawl – which erupted inside an Amsterdam nightclub and involved his brother Valentijn – where doctors discovered a serious infection that might have cost him his hand, according to a report from Fighters Only. Overeem remained in the hospital for several days, forcing the cancellation of a scheduled title defense at Strikeforce “Shields vs. Lawler” on June 6.
Overeem began training for Werdum after receiving treatment for the infection, but returned to the hospital on several occasions when it re-appeared. The length of the recovery, and his inability to train properly, hastened doubts he would be able to compete in August.
Overeem won the Strikeforce heavyweight championship by defeating American Kickboxing Academy standout Paul Buentello at “Four Men Enter, One Man Survives” in November 2007. The Dutch striker subsequently migrated to Dream, where he amassed two victories before repeated fouls brought a no contest against Croatian star Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic last September. Two months later, he dispatched longtime veteran Gary Goodridge by submission at “Glory 10” in his native Netherlands.
Overeem’s first title defense was one of four title bouts scheduled for the Aug. 15 event in San Jose, Calif.’s HP Pavilion, headlined by a historic 25-minute meeting between top female mixed martial artists Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.
Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz issued a press release Tuesday afternoon confirming that Overeem was off the card and the search for a replacement bout was currently underway. Additionally, he told MMAWeekly that Werdum would remain on the card.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 3:30 P.S.T. to include Strikeforce press release and additional information about Werdum’s status on the card.