Heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem launched a homophobic attack on pro-wrestling when grilled on the return of his former rival Brock Lesnar to WWE.
The former UFC mainstay appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday (23 August) to announce his upcoming Glory Kickboxing heavyweight title fight against Rico Verhoeven.
During the interview, host Ariel Helwani brought up the surprise return of Overeem’s “old friend” Brock Lesnar at WWE’s SummerSlam event on Saturday (21 August).
Lesnar is not only a former WWE champion but also a former UFC champion, and faced off against Overeem in the main event of UFC 141.
The question prompted Alistair Overeem to launch into a dismissive rant about pro-wrestling in general. The Dutch fighter began by recalling how he was a fan of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Ultimate Warrior when he used to watch “that whole wrestling thing” as a child. But when he revisited professional wrestling as an adult, he used homophobic language to express how “lame” he thought it was.
“And just recently, I started looking again on YouTube, and oh my God, this stuff is lame. It’s just lame what these guys are doing,” Overeem said. “It’s fake. It’s lame. It’s stupid. It’s gay. It doesn’t make any sense.”
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Ariel Helwani was visibly taken aback by Alistair Overeem’s language as he expressed his views on pro-wrestling. He told the fighter: “Uh-oh. Don’t say that, Alistair.”
“Why? Because I’m speaking the truth?” Overeem responded.
The rest of the interview contained no further use of LGBT+ language as a derogatory term as Overeem continued to discuss how “lame” he thinks professional wrestling is and how it’s full of “bad acting”.
“Sorry for all the fans of WWE, but I’m just being honest,” Overeem said. “I’m just giving my opinion. Free country, right?”
He continued: “I think it’s lame, and because I hadn’t seen it for 20 years. I knew it was there. I never watched Brock fight. I never watched CM Punk fight. I knew they were from WWE.”
Overeem spoke out about Punk’s brief career in the UFC. According to Variety, Punk stepped back from professional wrestling in 2014 after a combined nine-year run in WWE and its developmental system. He signed on as a professional MMA fighter with two fights in the UFC.
Overeem claimed Punk should have been “warned” about “what he was getting himself into” and that he “got mentally destroyed in the octagon”.
CM Punk has since made his return to pro-wrestling at AEW’s Rampage after a seven year hiatus.
The MMA Hour host has apologised for Overeem’s homophobic language in the segment. Helwani told OutSports that he is “really sorry that happened” and wished Alistair Overeem “didn’t say that to describe his stance on pro-wrestling”.
“I know Alistair to be a good, decent person and debated whether I should say something in the moment,” Helwani said. “You could see my wheels turning in the moment.”
He added: “I’ll debate that for a while. I am genuinely sorry to anyone who was offended by the comment.”
Alistair Overeem has been contacted for comment.
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