Rumors were swirling all weekend that former K-1 and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem would be pulled from his UFC 141 headlining bout against Brock Lesnar. Sports Illustrated reporter Josh Gross tweeted that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is meeting Monday and that Overeem is on their agenda. Yahoo's Kevin Iole also tweeted that Overeem may be out of the fight.
Overeem, a Dutch fighter notorious for the enormous amount of muscle he's packed on his body in recent years, recently left Nevada where he'd been training for UFC 141 to return to Holland. Overeem's mother is ill apparently and needs him by her side.
UFC president Dana White has vociferously denied that anything funny is going on with the UFC 141 fight card, but he hasn't been able to snuff the rumors. The actions of the NSAC are outside White's control regardless so it would be entirely sensible for the UFC to have back up plans in case Overeem, a fighter making his UFC debut, has to be pulled off the card.
Mir told MMA Fighting he "wouldn't mind" filling in for Overeem.
Frank Mir is not only the best possible replacement for Overeem, after his arm-snapping performance against MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he's an even better opponent for Brock Lesnar than Overeem (in pure business terms). Here's three reasons why:
- Frank Mir vs Brock Lesnar 3 would be a much bigger draw than Lesnar vs. Overeem
Even with only a couple weeks to hype the bout. The first two meetings of Mir and Lesnar, at UFC 81 and UFC 100, were two of the UFC's biggest grossing pay-per-views ever. UFC 100 set a record with a reported 1.6 million buys that still hasn't been matched. UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defended his title at that event. Dan Henderson also fought Michael Bisping. But without question, the biggest draw and much of the promotion of the event was the Lesnar-Mir rivalry.
- After UFC 140, Frank Mir is red hot.
Mir just put on one of the best performances of his career, coming back to beat the legendary "Big Nog" after being hurt and dropped with punches. Mir has been a notorious front-runner in his career, known for winning with quick submissions or folding under pressure when he gets hurt. Against Nogueira, Mir actually came back from a sustained hurting to win the fight. The footage of him snapping Nogueira's humerus bone makes for an easy sell of Mir vs Lesnar 3.
- UFC fans don't know Alistair Overeem like they know Frank Mir
Overeem is a pretty easy sell, don't get me wrong. One look at his horse meat built physique and most casual fans are intrigued and eager to see him in the cage, but that's not the same as knowing a fighter the way UFC fans know Frank Mir. Mir has been a multiple-time heavyweight champion. He's coached The Ultimate Fighter. Most importantly he's feuded bitterly and extensively with Brock Lesnar. When Mir and Lesnar get in the Octagon with each other, there's no denying the toxic chemistry between these two opposites.
As much as hardcore fans like myself want to see Alistair Overeeem get his chance in the Octagon, I have little doubt that casual fans will embrace Lesnar - Mir 3 with enthusiasm.