M-1 Global, Fedor Emelianenko’s longtime management company, set what now appears to be a soft deadline with Strikeforce and Showtime several weeks ago. The Russians claimed they would be willing to enter free agency after Emelianenko’s next Strikeforce fight if they can’t iron out a contract extension.
The world’s current/former heavyweight king had his unprecedented 27-fight win streak snapped by Fabricio Werdum this past June. The shocking upset not only cost Fedor his aura of invincibility, but also much of his power at the negotiating table.
M-1 have been trying to finalize a new deal for nearly a year to no avail. As the rumor mill continues to churn out proposed dates and opponents, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker keeps singing the same tune.
“As everybody knows we have a negotiation ongoing with M-1 right now, and I wish I had a simple answer, but it’s an ongoing negotiation,” Coker told MMAWeekly.
Although it was assumed they were primarily speaking with Strikeforce, it appears Showtime has served as the Russian’s direct target. It’s reported M-1 are insisting an extension include a new co-promotional agreement that would bring M-1 shows to the premium-cable channel. It’s believed their pursuit of expanding their partnership has been a major sticking point.
“I feel good about it, I feel good about the negotiations,” Coker said of the never ending bargaining process with Team Fedor. “Whether you’re dealing with Dream, or you’re dealing with M-1, or any foreign company there’s always a translation issue, and there’s always a cultural issue, and there’s just a lot of barriers that will come.
“We’re trying to navigate through the waters and get a fair deal for everybody.”
Their journey has taken plenty of detours and encountered countless dead ends. However, the promoter was confident his meal ticket would be back in action before the NCAA Tournament rolls around.
“Fedor will be fighting, I want to say sometime in the first quarter of 2011. I believe that’s when he’ll be fighting in the cage,” Coker stated in closing.
The 34-year-old has fought only twice since putting Andrei Arlovski to sleep at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” in January 2009.