Imagine this. You get on an airplane to travel halfway across the world believing there’s a fight and big payday waiting for you at your destination only to land and find out that not only do you not have a fight, you no longer have an organization to fight for.
Yep, that’s pretty much what happened to Fedor yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from M-1 Global’s official statement on the matter.
Early Friday afternoon, M-1 Global learned without warning or prior notice that Affliction had decided to cancel “Trilogy.”
As a partner of Affliction, M-1 Global was saddened to learn of these developments. The cancellation took our company completely by surprise, as Fedor Emelianenko, M-1 Challenge fighter Mikahil Zayats, and a traveling party of 35 people from Russia consisting of Fedor’s trainers, friends, family, as well as M-1 support personnel were all on a plane en route to Anaheim.
Additionally, Fedor did not learn of the cancellation until arriving at the airport and informed directly by M-1 legal counsel.
Following the California State Athletic Commission’s decision not to license Josh Barnett earlier in the week, M-1 Global was confident that a suitable replacement would be found. Fedor was ready, willing, and able to compete against whomever Affliction determined was the most qualified candidate amongst an extensive list of potential replacements.
M-1 Global understands and shares the disappointment being expressed by many fans that Fedor will not be able to compete on Aug. 1 as scheduled. However, we will work to ensure that Fedor returns to active competition as soon as possible.
The question everyone is asking now is, what happens to Fedor?
At the moment know one knows. There’s rumblings he wants to fight for Strikeforce because of the contractual flexibility they offer, but there are serious questions about whether they can afford him. Signing Fedor to a $1 million+ per fight deal like he got in Affliction wouldn’t make much business sense for Strikeforce. They’re smart enough to pass on a deal if it doesn’t work for them, so if Fedor really wants to fight for them, he’ll probably need to take a substantial pay cut. Then, as we all know, the UFC is willing and able to pay him the big bucks, but he’ll lose the contractual freedoms he dearly values. Of course, there’s always Japan, which would be one big fat disappointment, or someone with more money than brains could pop out of the woodwork willing to partner with M-1 like Affliction did. And that raises another question, how does M-1 fit into all this? Their involvement and Fedor’s equity stake only further complicates matters.
Obviously, everyone wants to see Fedor fight in the UFC. I’m not sure I’d necessarily say there’s a good chance, but with Affliction out of the picture now, I definitely think there’s a much better chance than there was less than 24 hours ago.