Emelianenko’s Camp: “Ready to Conduct Negotiations [with UFC]”

Written by Tom Ngo
July 27th, 2009

Due to Affliction Entertainment’s abrupt collapse, reigning WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko has hit the free agent market sooner than expected.  With his management looking to lock something in sooner rather than later, the fight for Fedor heats up.

“We are now with Fedor in the U.S. and we hope to make a decision about his next fight within the next few days,” Fedor’s manager, Vadim Finkelchtein, told M-1Golbal.com. “There are many business meetings and negotiations planned with all the major promotions.”

What came out of his mouth after that was nothing short of shocking as the M-1 Global owner stated they were still in pursuit of landing a fight against the heavyweight roider himself, Josh Barnett.

“We will explore the possibility of Fedor fighting Barnett and will even look into whether the fight can take place as soon as August (since Barnett has not been suspended),” Finkelchtein added.

Dancing with Barnett here in the States might be nothing more than a pipe dream as it’s only a matter of time before the California State Athletic Commission drops the hammer down on Barnett. And considering that this is his second positive test, don’t expect him to be receiving the benefit of anyone’s bout.

However,  if the fight does happen, Japan would most likely be the spot. Not only have both fighters kept strong ties overseas from their days with PrideFC, but because Japan does not have a commissioning body, they’re not required to enforce suspensions handed down outside of their country.

That means Barnett would simply have to go Antonio Silva with it.

Last year, the former EliteXC heavyweight champion also tested positive for a banned substance, however instead of accepting the year-long suspension, he opted to go fight in the Orient and not face repercussions until he applies for reinstatement again in the States, at which point he might face an additional suspension for circumventing the system.

However, since Barnett single-handily cost Affliction Entertainment and their partners millions of dollars because of his inability to lay off the juice, taking down an entire organization in the process, don’t expect to see many MMA company’s lining up for his services regardless.

Also, it’s a lot more likely that either Dream or World Victory Road, a place where Barnett has fought in the past, would be more willing to co-promote a show with M-1 Global than Strikeforce, and especially the UFC.

Speaking of fighting inside the Octagon, Finkelchtein had this to say about working with the planet’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion.

“This is the moment of truth that the UFC has talked about. Fedor and I are here in the States. If they want to come out and fly here, we are ready to conduct negotiations,”  Finkelchtein said of their willingness to re-open talks with the UFC. “Of course it still doesn’t imply we are ready to accept any conditions they’ll throw at us. We want to talk to the UFC about having Fedor compete against some of their fighters, but only within the framework of co-promotional efforts with M-1 Global.”

What they had going with Affliction Entertainment was perfect for them. Although they had a nice run together, Finkelchtein was non-committal when asked if Fedor & Co. would be looking to work with the popular clothing company ever again.

“This question remains open,” he stated. “Negotiations are currently taking place as we speak. With this cancellation they not only let us down but all the fighters and the MMA fans all over the world as well.”

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