Overeem: ‘We had to play it safe’

Monday, February 03, 2014

You fight on a tight rope in the UFC.

If you fight cautiously, you get cut pretty quickly when you lose; and everyone loses (assuming Renan Barao and Jose Aldo have something better to do post UFC 169 than read this on the UG). If you go all out and thrill the fans, you will be kept around longer, although not indefinitely, and your purse stays fixed, and the risk of getting knocked unconscious rises dramatically.

That was the MMA dilemma, facing Alistair Overeem Saturday night at UFC 169.

UFC president Dana White was not impressed.

“He fought safe,” said White post fight. “I think he could have finished him. Not a crowd-pleasing fight. He kept his job. The reality is, Alistair didn't try to finish and didn't try to capitalize on any of the work that he had done. It was a crappy performance, in my opinion.”

Speaking to FOX after the fight, Overeem said he was not thinking about being cut as he fought, but that it still affected the outcome.

“[Being cut] wasn't going through my mind, but it was a decisive factor in my gameplan,” said Overeem. “We had to play it safe. Especially looking at my previous fight, Before Frank (a first round KO loss to Travis Browne). We fought a safe and clever gameplan this time.”

The UFC was born from a stupid simple idea – to find out what the best martial art is, drop an exponent of two different ones in a box together, and see who wins. The UFC might want to think outside the current box, and consider giving fighters the number of fights on their contract, whether they win or not, and see if that makes the play of the game more fan friendly, and less like Saturday night.