Fedor Emelianenko and M-1 Global held a press conference this afternoon in California. I listened in on the conference, but the audio was so bad, I could only make out a couple things.
First off, Jerry Millen announced that Fedor will be “headlining” the new EA Sports MMA video game next year. Gegard Mousasi and Babalu Sobral have also signed to be in the game. I didn’t hear this, but The Savage Science says Fedor isn’t worried about the UFC EA ban affecting their negotiations with the UFC. Also, someone asked if they will be taking any legal action against Affliction since Fedor had one fight remaining on his contract. An M-1 attorney said they are “weighing all their options” and if they feel there was any wrongdoing, they will do everything to protect their rights in the US.
@MichaelDavSmith: I just asked Fedor Emelianenko if he will meet Dana White while he’s in the U.S. He was noncommittal in his answer.
@MichaelDavSmith: M-1 stresses that to do a deal with UFC, they want co-promotion. They think it’s important for MMA to have competition, not UFC dominance.
@MichaelDavSmith: Fedor Emelianenko is asked if he has talked to Strikeforce. M-1 says they’ve had negotiations with lots of companies and Strikeforce is one.
@MichaelDavSmith: M-1 stresses it has promoted MMA all over the world. Fedor, as the face of M-1, should fight in UFC under the M-1 banner
@MMAWeeklycom: Vadim says UFC offered fedor “a very good” offer, to which m1 made a counter offer: co-promotion. UFC reps made counter offer “very quietly”
@MMAWeeklycom: “The offer made by the UFC is not interesting for us” says Fedor
@MichaelDavSmith: The real news from this call: Fedor is far from being close to finalizing a deal with UFC. M-1 and UFC are far apart.
To sum it up, Fedor has not signed with the UFC, is not close to finalizing a deal with the UFC, and M-1 is not backing off on their demand for co-promotion. So unless M-1 is merely using the co-promotion demand as way to get a better deal, or not and Zuffa gives in (doubtful) or they come up with some kind of creative solution like a pseudo-sponsorship or something, we probably won’t be seeing him in the UFC anytime soon.
Basically, it’s not looking nearly as good as it did 24 hours ago.
Update: Here’s a little more clarification from Sherdog.
Finkelstein said the UFC made a new offer to Emelianenko, and M-1 Global made a counteroffer. However, Finkelstein said Emeliananko would not proceed without a co-promotional effort between M-1 and the UFC where they shared expenses and profits.
M-1 Global also pressured the UFC by saying they are in talks with other shows, including Strikeforce.
“We’re not going to wait,” Finkelstein said. “We have to move forward. It might be that very soon we will be able to announce a deal with another promotion. I’m going to tell you that we’re only going to work under co-promotion conditions.”
If M-1 is truly serious about sharing expenses and profits, then this deal will never happen in a million years.