Fedor Signs With Strikeforce
Well, it looks like Fedor is fighting after all. It’s just not in the UFC. Just moments ago, I received a press release from Strikeforce, which says that Fedor will fight on Showtime in the fall and he will headline shows which will be co-promoted by Strikeforce and M-1 Global.
After he and M-1 turned down UFC, the feeling was that the co-promotion was the sticking point, and now as we can see, it was probably the major sticking point. The rest of the press release is below. We’ll update this story if there’s anything to add later.
NEW YORK (August 3, 2009)–-After a week of intense negotiations and speculation, the hottest topic of discussion in the professional fight world has come to a head as the world’s number one heavyweight and most sought after mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko has signed a historic, multi-fight agreement that will see him headline mega-events co-promoted by world championship promotions STRIKEFORCE and M-1 Global.
Emelianenko, known globally as Fedor, will make his premium television debut this Fall when his first fight under the new agreement airs live on SHOWTIME®. Up until now, Emelianenko’s live fights have aired exclusively on pay-per-view in the United States.
“I am looking forward to going back to work and fighting at the highest level,” said the 33-year-old Emelianenko. During his nine year professional fight career, which included a four and a half year stay with the world’s former top MMA promotion, the now defunct PRIDE Fighting Championship, the Russian native has faced and defeated all comers.
In his last effort, the 6-foot, 235-pound Emelianenko decimated the number two ranked heavyweight at the time Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski with a single punch in the first round (3:14) of the main event of Affliction: “Day of Reckoning” at Anaheim, California’s Honda Center on January 24.
“STRIKEFORCE is a top fight promotion that houses some of the greatest fighters in the world,” continued Emelianenko. “I am prepared to fight any of them.”
“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with M-1 Global and Fedor,” said STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO Scott Coker, a martial arts fight promoter of over 25 years. “Fedor has been the reigning king of MMA’s heavyweight division for quite some time now so being able to work with M-1 and Fedor will substantially increase the level of competition amongst the athletes in this weight class.”
“With the addition of Fedor and STRIKEFORCE’s new relationship with M-1 Global, SHOWTIME is now the home of the best pound-for-pound male and female fighters in the world,” said Ken Hershman, Senior VP and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports®. “The Aug. 15 Carano-Cyborg matchup on SHOWTIME will clearly determine the best female mixed martial artist on the planet. Then, come this Fall, our subscribers again will witness history when the universally recognized best male fighter—Fedor Emelianenko—joins the already long list of world-class athletes on the STRIKEFORCE roster, and for the first time ever plies his skills live on SHOWTIME.”
Hershman continued: “We are better positioned now than ever before to deliver on our promise to televise the top fighters in mixed martial arts today.”
“I am very happy and excited about the upcoming collaboration with Strikeforce,” said Vadim Finkelchtein, President of M-1 Global. “We are very pleased that we found a reliable partner and I feel that Strikeforce and M-1 can support each other on many things. This will create big opportunities for both parties to test their fighters against worthy opponents.”
Though his official professional record is 30-1, Emelianenko is considered undefeated. The only blemish on his record is a December 22, 2000 fight that was stopped after 17 seconds and declared a TKO in favor of his opponent, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, due to a cut Emelianenko sustained in the opening seconds of the matchup in Osaka, Japan.
Amongst those on Emelianenko’s list of impressive conquests are former PRIDE Heavyweight Champions Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic as well as former UFC Heavyweight Champions Kevin “The Monster” Randleman and Tim Sylvia, whom Emelianenko submitted with a rear naked choke only 36 seconds into their main event showdown at Affliction: “Banned” on July 19, 2008.
Despite his extensive experience, Emelianenko’s debut under the new STRIKEFORCE-M-1 venture will, interestingly enough, mark his first start in a cage. To date, all of his bouts have taken place in a ring.
After co-promoting two events live on SHOWTIME in 2007 and 2008, STRIKEFORCE in March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on the premium cable television network.
26 thoughts on “Fedor Signs With Strikeforce”
I don’t think Dana White really understands Fedor Emelianko. Clearly money doesn’t matter to Fedor, as Big D put it on tonight’s FightGameBlog Radio, he’s filthy stinking rich. And what does Fedor have to prove at this point in his career? He’s defeated anybody who is anybody, he has already proven himself.
There are two things that are important to Fedor: co-promotion of M-1 and complete freedom of his person, and these were the two things which he was denied by UFC. Of course UFC wouldn’t want to water down their product by having it co-promoted with M-1, so I don’t blame them for that, but then again if Affliction and Strikeforce can agree to it, it does make UFC seem unreasonable even if they are the top promotion in the world. And while UFC was willing to let Fedor compete in Sambo tournaments in Russia, Fedor wouldn’t have been available to compete anywhere else while he had his UFC deal — a condition that Fedor has NEVER agreed to in his life.
The bottom line is that Fedor’s principles cannot be sold out for cash, and all Dana White knows is to throw cash at individuals who have objections. It’s contrary to the mentality of most MMA fighters, they’re in it to get as much money as they can as quickly as they can because their careers can be over quick. At this point, though, I think Fedor has shown he’s above and beyond the average MMA fighter.
We also don’t know how much he’s REALLY making from M-1.
Who knows what is really going on behind the scenes. I just know that if he either loses or never goes to UFC – it WILL hurt his legacy. I’m not sure if it’s Fedor’s principles or if he REALLY IS making that much more off the combo of DREAM/Strikeforce fights and M-1 distribution deals. I don’t know if he even realizes the magnitude of what Dana allegedly offered.
It’s dumb for him to even THINK that Dana and the UFC would’ve allowed co-promotion or for him to fight in DREAM – it makes no sense businesswise. That’s like if I owned a web site called … i dunno… http://www.sexedupblondehookers.com and wanted to collab with FGB. It wouldn’t fit.
I want to take two things that Kev said.
“Of course UFC wouldn’t want to water down their product by having it co-promoted with M-1, so I don’t blame them for that, but then again if Affliction and Strikeforce can agree to it, it does make UFC seem unreasonable even if they are the top promotion in the world.”
You can’t compare Affliction and Strikeforce to UFC in this sense because Affliction made no money, and Strikeforce isn’t on PPV.
Let’s say that a PPV with Fedor and Brock does 30 million in revenue. I’m just throwing a number out to make the math easier. If M-1 was co-promoting the fight, does it make sense for them to keep 15 of that? Is Fedor worth half in a match with Brock? Is he worth 10 million of that? I’m not even sure he’s worth 20% of that yet. It would seem like a terrible business decision for the UFC to make based on those numbers.
“The bottom line is that Fedor’s principles cannot be sold out for cash, and all Dana White knows is to throw cash at individuals who have objections. It’s contrary to the mentality of most MMA fighters, they’re in it to get as much money as they can as quickly as they can because their careers can be over quick. At this point, though, I think Fedor has shown he’s above and beyond the average MMA fighter.”
If we were to base this on history, this would be incorrect. White doesn’t pay out huge guaranteed money to his fighters. Affliction was the company that decided that they needed large pockets to compete.
And I think M-1 is in fact betting huge to make the most money possible. And that’s not something I blame on Fedor. He should try to make the most money based on what his market is. That should be his goal. But I would never say that the money doesn’t mean anything to them. He comes off looking like a puppet and he may be a puppet. But let’s not say that he’s not in it because of the money. Because based on them turning down huge money, it could simply be to make even more money next year.
I think Fedor is worried about one thing: his legacy. Nothing more than circumstantial evidence to support this, but I believe it.
When Fedor was in PRIDE and beating every heavyweight that walked the earth, he was the greatest. Above everyone. And he got out unscathed and with a legacy as the best fighter the world of MMA had ever seen.
Back then he did beat everyone that mattered. Big Nog three times. Cro Cop. Coleman. Then PRIDE was bought by the UFC and Fedor had the UFC vs. the field choice. I think he took the field because it gave him total control over his legacy. Same thing happened this time around.
He is stuck in the Favre zone. He doesn’t want to give up the sport but he doesn’t want to do anything that will hurt his reputation as the greatest ever. I think this is “lesser of two evils” now.
Does he avoid the talent of the UFC and have people doubt the validity of his undefeated record? Or does he sign with the UFC and lose the perfect record? M-1 Global can spin it how they wish, but Brett Rogers is not a better fighter than Lesnar. When they say “Rogers is a better fight for Fedor” they mean “its a fight he can more easily win”.
That is how Fedor will finish out his days as a MMArtist.
But who even knows him or his record? More people think that Brock Lesnar is the greatest heavyweight in the world than think that Fedor is, and it’s all about he’s not in the US.
Wouldn’t he want to disprove that? Wouldn’t he went to beat Brock to prove that?
I think it’s all M-1 and co-promotion, which equates to them wanting more money than he’s worth.
I guess it depends.
If he plans to spend the rest of his days in the U.S. then maybe he would worry about his reputation here. But if no, then perhaps it concerns him not.
His fame over seas is much larger than it is here in the U.S.
But what fame? He wasn’t even really a draw in Japan. He’s not all that well known in his home country.
It’s not like he’s Mirko Cro Cop in Croatia or Bob Sapp in Japan.
The X-Factor in all of this talk is, what is Fedor’s stake in M-1 Global?
I don’t know…just throwing ideas against the hall and hoping they stick. lol
I need a way to justify, in my own mind, why he is not fighting Lesnar.
No worries. In no way am I saying you’re wrong. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here. I don’t myself know. We’re just throwing stuff up.
I think his stake in M-1 is probably big, but if he was strictly worried for the money, he would’ve taken the UFC deal. It seemed, from the outside looking in, to be better than what he took with Strikeforce since Strikeforce isn’t even on PPV yet. How are they going to make any money? Arena gates? Showtime?
With Dana declaring Strikeforce Public Enemy #1, you have to believe any move will be countered by the UFC.
We’ll see. Supposedly ABC and ESPN are interested. We’ll see. That would be pretty huge.
GG said: “But who even knows him or his record? More people think that Brock Lesnar is the greatest heavyweight in the world than think that Fedor is, and it’s all about he’s not in the US.”
And how many people in the world know who Brock Lesnar is? Fedor’s name is more well-known in most of the world, and Fedor is a god in many places, places that UFC has never been heard of.
Fedor and M-1 could have put UFC’s name in those places, if UFC had (no pun intented) swallowed some of its pride. Again, though, I don’t think you can blame UFC for turning it down, because UFC will eventually get there, they’re not afraid to build slow and cautious. UFC did the best it could, IMO.
Think of this – even if UFC did offer $30 million, what happens if Lesnar destroys Fedor in his first fight? Who cares about Fedor now? Fedor’s name now offers nothing to UFC, and they’re stuck putting him on four more cards. Foolish investment, horrible business deal for UFC. The more I think about it, the more I think this is for the best. If Fedor wants to come to UFC, offer him a one-fight deal, not for a title but against another top-shelf fighter. Hell give M-1 a co-promotion deal for that one show. If Fedor is trumped, then UFC didn’t lose much. If Fedor wins then he has a bargaining tool to ask for more, and UFC will be more inclined to give in to those things.
I find it interesting that Strikeforce didn’t pick up Antonio Silva from EliteXC, but signed Fedor.
Fedor could fight at 205 easily. I don’t think he wants to fight a true heavyweight, with enough talent for the size difference to come into play. He doesn’t need money, but I think he’s terrified of being a quick (W) on a true heavyweight’s fight record.
I’m more interested in seeing him fight at 205 than at heavyweight. Which is where he’d have to go to be dominant in the UFC. Even then he’d be an interesting fight for either Machida or Anderson Silva. I think he’s protecting his image. As long as the press has him labeled “the best heavyweight in the world”, he doesn’t have to fight to prove it.
Ok, I think you’re terribly overestimating Fedor’s reach now. Fedor is a God in many places? Where? He’s not even over in his home country.
I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here, but I think Fedor comes to UFC next year and they take less money because of this overestimation.
He’s have to cut a lot of weight to get there though. He’s still bigger than Randy Couture.
He’s a soft looking 230-235. 205 is an easy cut for him over a 2-3 month serious training period. He wouldn’t even have to dehydrate.
I think his aura is gone at 205. There’s already great LHW at 205 with Machida and Silva pretty much being undefeated (for Silva, to UFC fans). The reason why Fedor is Fedor is because he’s doing it at heavyweight.
[quote]I think his aura is gone at 205. There’s already great LHW at 205 with Machida and Silva pretty much being undefeated (for Silva, to UFC fans). The reason why Fedor is Fedor is because he’s doing it at heavyweight.[/quote]
I agree, but he’s dominated while the division was weak. If he drops to 205 without fighting the big fights, or if he just keeps ducking them, there will always be the question of his real standing. If he takes the big fight and is destroyed, then the mystique is exposed as hype. If he takes the big fights and wins, that will shut everybody up forever. If he drops to 205 after a loss to Lesnar or Silva (Antonio), and then dominates there, he should still be seen as a great fighter. There’s no shame in fighting your weight and being the best.
A lot of “Best fighters in the world” have come to the UFC for a reality check over the years. I think Fedor likes the world he lives in just the way it is.
Wait, so you’re saying that he should drop to 205 after fighting the best guys at heavyweight? I’m confused. Because at least for this year, he’s not going to fight a top five heavyweight in Strikeforce.
He doesn’t really have a choice but to fight heavyweight. That’s where he’s made his name. But it’s not the same class of fighter anymore. His days are numbered. Everyone loses eventually. I think a more realistic place for him to be is 205, but he’s stuck in heavyweight for now. Going down would be interpreted as running.
Is there really a heavyweight in the same class as Lesnar right now? (Maybe Antonio Silva. That’s the fight I’d really like to see.) Letting Lesnar get another year of training and improvement before meeting him in the cage is like asking for a sharper axe instead of a pardon at your execution. I don’t know for sure if that fight will ever happen. Fedor could very well lose in Strikeforce.
It’s interesting that you think Fedor’s days are numbered. Obviously, chances are that everyone gets beat, so I can see your point there. I guess I’ll just have to see it with my own eyes.
Fair enough. It’s just my opinion. I thought Forrest Griffin was going to challenge Anderson Silva last night, too. (But not beat him) I could be completely full of crap.
For the record, I think it would be cool as hell for a “little guy” like Fedor to beat Brock Lesnar’s ass. (I don’t like the guy, or think his skills would serve him well, if he didn’t have brute strength and size to make up for them.) I was pulling for Randy Couture, too. I wouldn’t bet on it though.
No, all opinions are welcome here. I’m glad you found us. You should check out our weekly podcast too.
first of anyone who thinks fedor is over the hill is out of there mind he lost one fight because of a technicality i dont consider a loss to a cut a real loss [obviously it is]. fedor has proven himself time and time again what has brock done,he fell a$$ backwards into a title shot,and brock is only famous because of his wrestling career if it wasnt for that he would just be another big guy personaly i think that fedor cannot be beat by anyone in any fighting leage heavy or light heavy he is by far the greatest and most likely will not suffer another loss to anyone for the rest of his career which he could stretch out for atleast another 5 10 years i know it seams like a long time given his age already but look at couture and fedor has more skill and strength either way fedor is better and more popular worldwide
I’m not sure Fedor is more popular worldwide. He does have more exposure worldwide, but he was never really a big draw for Pride. However, he is great. There’s no doubt about that. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that he won’t lose. But, by signing with Strikeforce, he definitely made his undefeated streak a little more untouchable.