Affliction Entertainment and M-1 Global are scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow at the Trump Plaza in New York City, however word has already leaked regarding the contents of the press conference. Affliction and M-1 are set to announce that they have officially partnered to promote MMA events across the world. This joint venture locks in WAMMA champion Fedor Emelianenko as an exclusive client of M-1 and Affliction, so there will be no UFC in Emelianenko’s future, and most likely no Randy Couture either.
“We’re basically just solidifying our relationship,” Affliction vice president Tom Atencio told MMAWeekly.com of M-1. “We work well with them. They’re one of the few companies we’ve worked with that if they say they’re going to do something, they do it. They’ve stood behind us, especially with negotiations with the UFC.”
The specifics of their agreement are still unknown, as well as how this new joint venture affects Affliction’s new partnership with Golden Boy Promotions. Perhaps clarification will be provided at tomorrow’s press conference, as Golden Boy representatives will be present as well.
It is believed that the two will split revenue and costs for all events, and it is likely that Affliction’s January 24th “Day of Reckoning” event will be their first venture together. Emelianenko will be headlining the card against former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.
Unfortunately for those that were still hoping that a Fedor/Couture fight was still possible, this deal pretty much puts the final nail in that coffin. M-1 Global Chief Operating Officer Joost Raimond says that although all parties, including the UFC, have remained cordial and professional throughout numerous negotiations, neither party is willing to part with their key fighter to a rival promotion.
“The fact of the matter is that a loan-out is something that the UFC would not desire, they would never go for such a deal,” Raimond said. “And secondly, the way we have our program set up for the next years, and our event schedules set up, it’s just not feasible to have a Fedor fight within the UFC.”
After Couture agreed to come back to the UFC and end his year-long battle with the organization in September, it has been rumored that there was an option in his new contract that would allow him to fight Emelianenko in the second fight of his three fight deal. Raymond said that he is not privy to the specifics regarding Couture’s contract, however he is certain that if the fight were to one day happen, it would not happen in a UFC Octagon.
“We are aware of what the rumors are on how that contract looks,” Raimond said. “If that is true, we will have to work with the UFC to find out how that can take place. But what we can say is that bringing Fedor under contract with the UFC for such a bout, that ‘s something that’s not going to happen.”