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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When Alistair Overeem's positive drug test result came down earlier this year, it infuriated UFC President Dana White. He felt that Overeem had lied to him about being a clean fighter, and went so far as saying he was washing his hands of him, and would let UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta deal with Overeem from then on.
However, Overeem and White settled their differences this last week, as Overeem waited in the UFC's offices for a meeting with White, and was granted an audience to hash things out.
"He went downstairs and waited for forty minutes until I called him upstairs, and then came into my office like a man," White said on Saturday night after UFC 148 (transcribed by MMAFighting.com).
"Nothing but respect for Alistair now. We all make mistakes and we all do stupid s***. I say this all the time. It's all in how you handle yourself after. He handled himself like a f***ing stud... He's doing all the right things now. He's fixing all the wrongs. We'll see what happens."
Overeem was pleased with the meeting as well, feeling it was a productive conversation and one needed in order to move forward with the UFC.
"Dana is an honest guy," Overeem said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "He's also a direct guy. We're actually very alike. I'm also very direct. I think we'll get along. We're just taking our time.
"It was a good meeting. It was very calm. We voiced our opinions about what happened and just took it easy. It was positive. We were actually very much on the same page. He appreciated that I came in to speak to him directly, and I was satisfied after the meeting. It was very positive."
For his part, Overeem is carrying himself like he's done nothing wrong, and is indeed enjoying his time off as he awaits December 27, when he can once again apply for a license in Nevada to return to action.
"I have not had time off since 2004," Overeem said. "That year, I had to cancel some fights with some injuries. Since 2005, I've had four, five, six, even seven fights per year. I never really had a couple months off. So for me now, this is wonderful. I can actually go out and have a social life."
"I'm continuing to train. I'm continuing to improve my game. But I feel good because I was always in fight preparation – always, from one guy to the next. Now I'm having some time for myself. I'm using this time wisely. I'm settled into Miami. I really love it there. I'm finishing my house. And if you're in fight preparation all the time, you can't really do that. You're just training all the time, and you have to go to bed every night at 11 p.m., and you're not really meeting new people, so for me, this time off is great. I'm clearing my mind, and I can assure you I'm going to be back stronger in December."
Overeem would of course like to face UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos upon his return, though he says he's fine with any opponent the UFC puts in front of him. He also addressed dos Santos' criticisms of him, and believes the Champ simply doesn't want to face him.
"Junior dos Santos is the Champion for a reason," Overeem said. "I'm just going to lay low. I'm going to fight whoever they put in front of me. But I'm going to get my hands on him, and when I do, he's all mine...
"He can talk all he wants. I know he's very happy that fight didn't happen, and I know he's afraid to fight me. He also knows that I'm the biggest threat out there to him. He knows when he fights me, there's no escape from it. He's going to hit and run, or he's going to go down. Either way, he's going to leave that Octagon a loser."
Penick's Analysis: I highly doubt the UFC Heavyweight Champion is afraid to fight any man. His worry with Overeem is that he'd be fighting a cheater, and that's the stigma Overeem will be branded with whether fair or not. He's convinced White now to get back on board with him as he waits out his delayed return, and in that he'll likely get his title shot right away when he returns. It's a bit ridiculous after he failed a drug test, but not without precedence, and the UFC will book whatever fight they feel will make them the most money. We'll have to wait to see how they play it out, but Overeem's making his moves to return to the spot he held before being forced out of UFC 146.
[Alistair Overeem art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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