The $1,000,000 prize for the winner of the announced ONE Openweight Muay Thai Grand Prix was enough to entice the long-time kickboxing and mixed martial arts veteran Alistair Overeem. Overeem has contacted ONE Championship representatives to inquire about being included in the Grand Prix, sources tell Nicolas Atkin of the South China Morning Post.
Chatri Sityodtong is also fueling the rumors by including 'The Reem' in a recent promotional post, asking who fans would like to see in the tournament - Overeem being the only fighter on the graphic not currently contracted to ONE Championship.
An obvious obstacle to his participation in the Grand Prix is his contract with GLORY. Overeem signed a multi-fight deal with the Dutch-based promotion in June of the past year and has so far only fought with them once. It should be noted that GLORY has in the past allowed their fighters to compete with other promotion: e.g. Sergej Maslobojev with King of Kings, Petchpanomrung with RISE, Verhoeven with HIT IT, etc. The difference being that neither of those promotions have been a rival in the western market like ONE Championship.
The 42-year-old Overeem returned to the sport of kickboxing following a 12-year absence from the sport in October and overcame Badr Hari by unanimous decision. However, he's currently sitting out a suspension after popping for a banned substance after the fight.
We'd have go even further back in the past for his sole Muay Thai bout, a unanimous decision victory over Paul Hordijk in 1999, in what was his combat sports debut. Despite all this, his size, power, and previous high-level experience would make him a strong entry in the tournament.