Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari discuss how they have set aside old enmities: ‘I’ve had my fall from grace and it humbles you’


Neither Alistair Overeem nor Bard Hari bear any ill will towards each other anymore.

Saturday, Overeem and Hari face off in a trilogy kickboxing match at Glory: Collision 4. In 2008, Hari had been critical of Overeem before they faced off in their first fight. However, Overeem was defeated by a knockout in the first round, which put Overeem back on the map. The two men rematched a year later with Hari finishing Overeem in the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Semifinals. Now, nearly 13 years since the two last met, Overeem and Hari will face each other once again, and while this first two encounters were flush with animosity, over a decade of combat sports experience has seemingly mellowed both men.

“I’ve only got love for Badr,” Overeem said when he and Hari went on The MMA Hour together. Throughout the years we’ve trained a little bit together, we’ve spoke a little bit together, I have a lot of respect for him. Although he has had some rough times, he still shows great potential in the ring. He has accomplished a lot. He is one of the guys, one the pioneers. So it’s going to be an awesome fight and my hat’s off to Badr.

“After we fought, this was nine years ago, we trained together, and then already my attitude was different. It comes with age, and you also have to fall from your height. I’ve had my fall from grace, and it humbles you. It manners you and it just shows you that all that, ‘Blah, blah, blah,’ it’s about nothing. Badr is very similar to me. He is actually me, just a different rout. But he’s a fighter and we have a lot of similarities, and throughout the years you see the similarities. He’s had his career ups as well, just like I have mine. A different path .”

Like Overeem, Hari set aside old grievances long ago, and admits to underestimating Overeem as a kickboxer the first time the two met. But after suffering that hard loss to Overeem, and his ensuing 13 years of combat sports excellence, Hari says it would be hard not to have respect for “The Reem.”

” After all those years, it’s not like that anymore. It’s not personal at all,” Hari said. Hari said, “I don’t care about winning this fight. I want to have fun and it is one of the best things in my sport. It gives a feeling of domination. It’s the cherry on top. For me, it’s not personal, it’s just me enjoying still standing here. The rivalry has changed. I believe it did because you can see someone fighting all those years and you understand what it took to win all of them. You have to put in a lot and work hard. It’s important to put your best foot forward so that the other person can see that he has done the same amount of work as you. So I think it’s difficult to not be respectful for somebody who has been fighting in this game for so long, because it’s like looking at yourself in a mirror… It’s not about you. He did a lot of great things. I have respect for him. But still, Saturday is Saturday. I would like to win .”

Despite the mutual respect and tension, there are still some remnants from the old competition tension. Hari has not won inside the ring since 2015 (he did beat Hesdy Gerges in 2018, but the result was overturn to a No Contest after both men tested positive for PEDs), and so, despite himself having not even fought in kickboxing in 12 years, Overeem said that Hari was not someone he was targeting to compete against, something Hari took a bit of umbrage with.

“I was going to fight Rico [Verhoeven], but Rico is doing Dancing With The Stars or whatever, Dancing On Ice,” Overeem said. Badr was interested in fighting me. To be honest, Badr — I like you, we’re not friends or anything but there’s a respect there — you’re not on the greatest track, so I was not going to challenge a wounded animal. But you wanted this fight so I was like, okay, let’s go, because I’m not going to say no.”

” I don’t understand how this fight took place, but Hari said that it wasn’t me challenging you. This fight was made possible by Glory. “Do you want Alistair to fight?” I answered yes. You were incorrectly informed, so I’m not sure who told you. It’s not me who challenged you. But I’m like any fighter, you tell me, ‘You want to fight Alistair?’ and I’m like yeah, bring him. Glory is challenging me, not me. They paid me, they asked if I wanted to fight Alistair and I said yes, because this is the only way to become great. And yeah, bro, a wounded lion is still a lion. Let’s see.”

Overeem quickly put the misunderstanding down to the actions of the promotion and the respect quiescence remained in tact, but come Saturday, when the fight begins, Hari for one, says that all gets set aside until they settle their business.

“Listen, you shouldn’t mix things up, because at the end, we are killers,” Hari said. “At the end of the road, if you are there Saturday, Oct. 8, and he punches me in the face or I punch him in the face, all this respect is gone. These are your fighter characteristics. While you can show respect, that does not negate the fact of our rivalry. The moment he starts kicking me and trying to hurt me, believe me, I will do everything to finish him. Don’t be confused. This is respect for someone who has been playing too much .”


Glory: Collision 4 takes place this Saturday at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands.