Former UFC heavyweight title challenger and incoming GLORY kickboxing championship chaser, Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem has claimed that veteran sport icon, Fedor ‘The Last Emperor’ Emelinenko turned down multiple bout agreements to face him during their time under the now-defunct, Strikeforce banner, as well as most recently under the scrutiny of Bellator MMA.
Overeem, who penned a multi-fight deal with kickboxing outfit, GLORY left the UFC just mere days following his UFC Vegas 18 knockout loss to Alexander Volkov back in February, following a 10-year stint with the Dana White-led outfit.
Set to return to professional kickboxing for the first time since December 2010, Overeem draws Dutch compatriot, Rico Verhoeven at GLORY: Collison 3 in October, challenging for heavyweight gold on his promotional debut.
Following his move from the UFC back in February, speculation began to mount as to where the veteran kickboxing standout would end up next, with Bellator MMA suggested as a potential landing pad for the 41-year-old.
Overeem, who had previously worked alongside current Bellator president, Scott Coker during his days under the disbanded, Strikeforce banner, was briefly floated as a potential opponent for former PRIDE FC heavyweight kingpin and Grand Prix victor, Emelianenko on occasion as well.
However, during a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour — Overeem claimed that despite his interest, Emelianenko had repeatedly refused to fight him throughout his career both during the pair’s time with Strikeforce and in a potential move to Bellator.
“We tried to make a little bit that Fedor (Emelianenko) fight, and that was kind of radio silence on that end,” Overeem said. “But that would be something I was interested in.“
“We tried to make that fight (in) 2010, when he fought (Fabricio) Werdum and I fought Brett Rogers — (he) declined,” Overeem explained. “After he lost to Werdum, we tried to make that fight. He declined, and now he has declined. So that’s three declines, so I think, with all due respect, but there is no interest from that side to fight me, and I cannot blame Fedor. Listen, I’m getting a little bit older, myself. I think he’s 45 or 46, so I understand. But I done everything I can do to make that fight happen — 10 years ago, but also now.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
Overeem explained how Emelianenko even rejected a potential Bellator 269 bout with him, with one-time interim Bellator heavyweight title challenger and UFC alum, Timothy Johnson clashing with Emelianenko at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia.