13 July 2020 – UFC star Alistair Overeem has paid his respects to one of the greatest Croatian fighters during his current holiday in Croatia.
The 40-year-old former Dream, Strikeforce and K-1 world champion and current UFC fighter is back in Croatia again on holiday and he took time out to go to Solin to visit the grave of Croatian legend Branko Cikatić.
Cikatić, who was the first Croatian-born fighter to achieve international success and the first K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, passed away in March of this year.
Overeem had the opportunity to get to know Cikatić, who was nicknamed ‘The Croatian Tiger’ and he spent time with Cikatić’s wife Ivana and kids Bruno and Lucia as they visited his grave together.
“What an unbelievable legend we have lost. Rest In Peace Branko Cikatic. It was an honor to have known you. My heart goes out to Ivana, Lucia and Bruno. From the last K1 – to the first K1 champion. Osu,” Overeem wrote on Instagram, sharing a number of photos.
Cikatić surprised the martial arts world by taking the 1993 K-1 Grand Prix tournament by storm, knocking out all three of his opponents in one evening.
Cikatić is the oldest winner of the K-1 Grand Prix at 38 years and 208 days.
He extended his athletic resume to include mixed martial arts in 1998, fighting in the Pride Fighting Championships. Towards the end of his sports career, Cikatić tried his hand at acting, playing a villain in the 1997 movie Skyscraper, starring Anna Nicole Smith.
In 2018, Cikatić had a pulmonary embolism and whilst in hospital he acquired an infection causing sepsis and was later diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He died on 23 March 2020 aged 65.