Friday, May 29, 2009
Above is Alistair "The Demolition Man" Overeem, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. He won the belt on November 16, 2007 and has defended the strap exactly zero times since.
The Strikeforce Middleweight champion is kickboxer-slash-actor-slash-fighter Cung Le, who won his belt by defeating Frank Shamrock on March 28, 2008. Since that victory, Le hasn't even set foot inside a cage, yet alone defend his belt.
I thought champions had to actually defend their belts, not just keep them on a shelf in their house for safe keeping.
Veteran fighter Scott Smith made similar remarks earlier in the week about the inactivity of Cung Le, calling for the organization to step in and you can't blame the guy. He's in their slugging it out, while the guy with the big, shiny belt is walking around on movie sets with no known plans to return to fighting.
Overeem's case is a little better, but also a little worse.
The Dutch fighter was all set to make his first title defense against Brett "The Grim" Rogers at Strikeforce's upcoming June event, but then he went out and injured himself in a bar fight. Smooth moves, Slick.
What makes the Overeem situation even more odd - you know, besides the over 500 day gap since winning the title - is that he's been fighting in Japan for the DREAM organization, earning four wins in that span. Couldn't he have declined one of those to put his belt on the line?
Adding to the ridiculousness is the situation with the Lightweight belt, where an injury to champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson precipitated an interim belt being created and won by Gilbert Melendez. The confusion comes from Thomson having won the belt last June and already been back in the ring against Ashe Bowman since.
So what's the deal Scott Coker?
Josh Thomson breaks his ankle and an interim title is created instantaneously, but two of your other champions simply can't be bothered to defend their belts and yet nothing is done.
Looks like a mighty big double standard you're adhering to for the benefit of your "International Stars" if you ask me...