And just like that, the decision was made for him.
Alistair Overeem, the Strikeforce heavyweight champion, said on MMA Fighting's "The MMA Hour" on Monday that he didn't want to fight in the semifinals of the Grand Prix tournament on Sept. 10. That would be just a three-month turnaround from his quarterfinal win over Fabricio Werdum, and he wanted an extra month to heal from nagging injuries.
He also said that Zuffa, the folks that own both UFC and Strikeforce, threatened to remove him from the heavyweight tournament if he didn't agree to the bout. Overeem said he doesn't like threats.
And now he is left without a place in the Grand Prix as UFC president Dana White has removed Overeem (35-11-1) from the tournament, according to multiple reports. Daniel Cormier will take his place in the Grand Prix, which is now left without any seriously established stars among the final four. Cormier will fight Antonio Silva, a star on the rise, in one semifinal and Josh Barnett, a former star with a PED-laced history, against Sergei Kharitonov in the other semifinal.
Overeem is still under contract with Zuffa, according to MMAJunkie.com.