Overeem out, Mir in and Dana White owes us an apology – and a free UFC 146
Right around the time Eddie Alvarez was pounding out jiu-jitsu ankle-biter Shinya Aoki at Bellator 66, and shortly after somebody beat somebody else in the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter that I rarely watch because life’s too short to watch bad fights, UFC boss Dana White tweeted that Frank Mir will replace Alistair Overeem against heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 146.
There was no follow-up tweet, no “Sorry, guys. I fucked up and trusted that juice freak when I knew better and now I’ve screwed us all into a corner so we’re stuck with Mir.” Instead, it was a stealth tweet late on a Friday evening, sent out prior to White boarding a plane from Las Vegas to Atlanta for Saturday’s UFC 145, meaning White would be in the air and unreachable when the news spread and fans started screaming for somebody’s head on a spike Ned Stark-style. And they should be screaming.
Overeem failed his drug test, which surprised no one. Doesn’t matter whether it was “just” elevated testosterone levels (more than twice the allowable limit and 14 times that of the average adult male). Doesn’t matter that he’ll have his day in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to plead his case. He’s out. Too bad it took White two weeks to make it official, two weeks that saw him deny that he would break up UFC 146’s Mir vs. Cain Velasquez match-up, that gave rise to a bizarre fan-driven Mark Hunt-as-replacement campaign and rumours of Fedor Emelianenko finally signing with the UFC to step in against JDS (pure fanboy wishmaking, that).
No, instead we have midnight announcements of Mir getting another title shot. Not a bad choice given the options. He’s a former champ with a three-fight winning streak and he openly vied for the bout. Never mind that it leaves JDS a month to reconfigure his training camp to prepare for such a vastly different opponent than Overeem — Mir couples solid striking with great grappling, while Overeem is a pure striker. Comparatively, Mir’s adjustment from Velasquez to dos Santos should be significantly less. Of course, this leaves Velasquez without a dance partner.
And what about Overeem? Regardless of the outcome of his NSAC showdown he should be fired. Should have been fired the moment the failed drug test was revealed. And White is no less culpable, keeping one of the biggest fights of 2012 in limbo for two weeks. How about making UFC 146 a free-per-view, just to make things up to the fans?