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Dana White: Alistair Overeem had food poisoning day of UFC 209, still went out and knocked out Mark Hunt

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

I had food poisoning once, and it was not a pleasant experience. From breaking out into sweats, getting the chills, feeling so weak I could barely stand to uncontrollable vomiting and painful stomach cramps, the experience is dreadful to say the least.

Of course, I didn’t have to fight Mark Hunt a few hours prior.

That’s the situation Alistair Overeem found himself in the day of UFC 209, as the hard-hitting heavyweight came down with a sever case of food poisoning that forced him to get hospitalized for 24 hours, according to UFC president Dana White.

So why didn’t we know about it? According to White -- who interrupted Overeem’s post-fight presser duties (see it) to personally thank him for sucking it up and fighting — it was simply because “The Reem” refused to tell anyone about his woes.

Something that earned White’s respect even more.

“Did you know he was sick?” White asked reporters during the presser. “So, he’s been in the hospital for 24 hours with food poisoning, throwing up and all the other pleasantries of food poisoning. He was in the hospital, we brought him home, and then we had to bring him back to the hospital,” explained Dana.

“They had to fill him with bags of fluids, IV’s. At one point he was afraid to leave his room because he couldn’t stop throwing up and everything else. He did not want to turn down the fight, still came out and fought tonight and knocked out Mark Hunt. And more to his credit, he didn’t say one word about it in his interview and obviously he didn’t say nothing to you guys here. I just came here to thank him and tell him how much I respect him.”

Props.

While Overeem wasn’t as explosive as he would’ve liked in his performance, he managed to find an opening in the final round, clipping “Super Samoan” with a devastating knee to the face the flatted the hard-hitting brawler. Knowing now what he was going through makes Overeem’s win a bit more impressive.

And you know White and Co. were thrilled Alistair decided not to opt out last second, as losing another main card fight after losing Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson due to an illness to “The Eagle,” would’ve been disastrous for the event.

Indeed, Overeem’s tenacity paid off in more ways than one, as he is now on the UFC higher-ups good graces while others seem to be in the doghouse.

As far as IV’s are concerned -- which are now banned under United States Anti Doping (USADA) guidelines — Overeem confirmed his team went through the proper steps to score a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).

For complete UFC 209 results and coverage click here.

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