Sometimes where there is smoke, there really is fire.
Alistair Overeem, the DREAM Interim heavyweight champion, K-1 World Grand Prix champion and last man to hold the Strikeforce heavyweight title, is going to make his highly-anticipated debut for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in a five round main event against Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 on Dec. 30, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But it almost didn't happen.
That's because "Demolition Man" was embroiled in a drug test fiasco with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), one that forced Overeem to account for his inconsistencies concerning the time frame in which he took his steroid test as part of (what was supposed to be) a random screening.
While "The Reem" was scheduled for a hearing in front of the NSAC back on Dec. 12, ZUFFA was faced with the very real possibility that he could have been denied a license to compete, effectively destroying the much-ballyhooed main event with only two weeks until fight night.
Enter Frank Mir.
The former division champion, who split a pair of bouts with Lesnar in 2008 and 2009, was close to completing his heavyweight trilogy against the ex-Gopher in the off-chance the NSAC told Overeem to kick rocks.
UFC President Dana White explains his back-up plan (via MMAFighting.com):
"We started talking to Mir, told him to get in shape, to get ready, and he was. There's never been a situation in ten years of being in business with Frank Mir where we called [him] and [he] was like 'Yeah, you know what? I'm really not interested in taking this fight. Yeah, you know what I don't think I'm gonna be ready, yeah Christmas is coming...' There's never been an instance in ten years where Frank Mir turned down a fight."
Overeem starts at the 6:45 mark.
The NSAC eventually granted Overeem a conditional license, which means Frank Mir won't get the Lesnar trilogy he's looking for.
At least, not yet.
Any fight fans out there who would have preferred Lesnar vs. Mir III? Or is the Overeem fight the only one that makes sense at this point in their respective careers?
What say you?
More on Overeem's licensing issues here.