Lesnar familiar with accusations leveled at Overeem
Last week, the MMA world sat waiting and wondering if Overeem would get his license to fight Lesnar in next week’s heavyweight main event. The Nevada State Athletic Commission ultimately granted him a conditional license – and allowed him to take his pre-fight drug screening much later than it initially requested it from him. Additionally, Overeem has to take and pass two more random screenings after the fight to satisfy the NSAC’s requirements.
For many of Overeem’s critics, the extra requests from the NSAC come as no surprise. The Dutch fighter, the last Strikeforce heavyweight champion, has been dogged by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use for years now.
“Everybody has a right to ask whatever they want, and I have a right to respond,” Overeem said Monday on a media call for UFC 141. “I’m very busy with my career. It’s not like I’m just training. A lot of other stuff comes on top of it with the team, PR, all these interviews. So I’m very occupied with it. I don’t have time to get into all these allegations. Usually they’re done on the Internet, from people that I don’t even know and have never even met. If people would come up to me and have a discussion about it, I’d explain my side of the story and deal with it. But the Internet comments – I don’t have time to get into all that.”
For Lesnar, a former WWE star now looking to reclaim the UFC heavyweight title he used to hold, steroid talk is nothing new.
“I’ve been dealing with the same accusations my whole life,” Lesnar said. “Being part of the spotlight and being with the Internet nowadays and social media and everybody knows everything, it’s part of the lifestyle. It comes with the territory. I’ve been used to it for many years.”
But while Lesnar famously avoids as much media spotlight as he can, preferring to live out of the limelight, Overeem wasn’t afforded that luxury last. His dealing with the NSAC took on a life of its own thanks to Twitter, and he said the ordeal – while also going home to Holland to care for his sick mother – became a distraction that he had to work around.
“It was a distraction, but I’ve been through a lot in my career,” Overeem said. “Usually, I have to deal with distractions and setbacks. I’m a three-time champion and I’ve been through a lot. it’s all about adaptation, and I’ve been through that, I think.”
For both colossal heavyweights, there is plenty at stake in their main event in Las Vegas – distractions or not. The winner will get a shot at Junior dos Santos and the UFC heavyweight title. And while Lesnar prefers to concentrate on the task at hand and worry about dos Santos later, Overeem couldn’t help but think ahead to the possibility of going head-to-head with the other most renowned striker in the heavyweight division.
“It’s a dream match not only for myself, but for the fans as well,” Overeem said. “If I do dwell on the prospect a little bit, style wise it’s an excellent fight – striker vs. striker. He’s got a knockout in both hands.”
But first he has to get past Lesnar in a bout both fighters say won’t make it out of the second round, despite being a five-round main event.
“I’ve been preparing for the five rounds, and I’ve been doing the five rounds forever it seems,” Overeem said. “Looking at the type of fighter I am, and the type of fighter Brock is, we’re aggressive. We’re fighters and we want to finish fights. I don’t see it going past the first or the second round.”
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The UFC’s last pay-per-view of 2011 also features a co-main event lightweight contenders bout between Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz, plus a wrestler vs. wrestler welterweight fight between Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks.