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Finkelstein: ‘M-1 Global Is Still Interested In Continuing To Negotiate With The UFC’ (Update II)

Fedor Emelianenko & Vadim Finkelstein

M-1 Global has issued a new statement from M-1 President Vadim Finkelstein refuting reports that Fedor turned down a $30 million contract and that any chance of a deal is dead. Here’s his statement in its entirety.

“There have been recent reports stating that talk between M-1 Global and the UFC regarding Fedor fighting in the UFC have ended. Like some of the other reports that have surfaced, this is incorrect.

“It is unfortunate that so much incorrect information has been leaked to the public. It is M-1’s preference not to negotiate in public and we are unsure why people claim that Fedor and M-1 turned down a six fight, $30 million contract to fight in the UFC when no such offer was ever made.

“Even though Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White did not meet with Fedor in person on Tuesday, they were represented over the phone. Outside of representatives of the UFC and M-1, no other company was represented during our negotiations. Since we did not go to the media with details of the meeting and only responded to the erroneous reports, we are unsure how these reports started.

“It’s unfortunate because these type of tactics will not help ensure that M-1’s talks with the UFC are fruitful. M-1 Global is still interested in continuing to negotiate with the UFC and while we are fielding offers from other major promotions, nothing has been decided. It is our hope that the UFC will remain in active dialogue with us as we try to find ways for us to work together. All we are asking is that there is give-and-take in the negotiations and that they are not one-sided.”

Vadim Finkelchtein, Co-owner/President
M-1 Global

And the PR battle continues. While we’re on the subject of M-1, I want to take a second to revisit this “co-promotion” they keep talking about. A lot of people have been asking what that means. Someone even asked M-1 at their press conference what their idea of “co-promoting” is, and not surprisingly, they dodged the question. Many believe M-1 is merely using it as a bargaining chip which is something I’ve been suspecting as well. Of course, other organizations such as Strikeforce are willing to “co-promote,” so as long as they have other viable options I suppose they can continue to demand it regardless of how unlikely it is the UFC will give it to them. But, once again what does that mean? Well, here’s Jerry Millen describing it in his own words.

Maybe he will be in the UFC, but it’s gotta be a co-promotion. We’re not asking for anything that’s crazy, we’re willing to take half the risk. We’re willing to take half the profit or half the loss…Yeah, yeah. You sit down with the hard numbers. What’s the fight purses? What’s the venue? What’s the advertising budget? Travel, food, throw it all in a pot, split it down the middle, and at the end of the event if the ink is black and there’s a profit, split the profit, and if the ink is red, then just split the loss.

OK then, well here are the questions I want to know the answers to. Is this the type of arrangement M-1 had with Affliction? Were they will to take “half” the risk with them? Were they willing to pay half of Affliction’s ridiculous salaries? Including Fedor’s opponents’ purses? Were they willing to split Affliction’s red ink? If they were, then why all this hinting at a lawsuit for canceling Fedor’s fight? If that was the case, they should be throwing Atencio and gang a party for not costing them anymore money.

Or is the real question this? Is M-1 only willing to take such a “risk” when they know there’s hardly any risk to actually take?

Update: That didn’t take long. Looks like I already have my answer.

“The next level for us is an M-1 Global show, co-promoted with ‘question mark,’ with Fedor in that promotion,” says M-1 USA vice president Jerry Millen. “Fedor owns part of M-1 Global. Fedor wants what’s best for the company, best for him and best for MMA. … We co-promoted with (Affliction) to an extent. We’re looking for a true co-promotion.”

Funny how they want to do a “true co-promotion” now that the two primary organizations they’re talking to both have proven track records of profitability.

Nevertheless, Strikeforce’s Scott Coker is definitely entertaining the idea.

“I don’t feel that way,” Coker says when asked if he has misgivings about co-promoting with a possible competitor. “In boxing, it’s done all the time. Different companies are going to have different fighters.”

“One promotional company has to take the lead and actually produce the event, which would probably be us if we were able to land Fedor,” Coker says. “I think that everybody would identify their assets that they’re bringing to the table. I think one of our strong points is that we’re very good live-event producers. They’d bring Fedor, they’d do international TV, they would probably bring some sponsorships in.”

If M-1 is as dead serious about this co-promoting business as they say they are, then we might as well just forget about the UFC. Fedor just said he has three fights remaining on his M-1 contract and then, “we’ll see.” Hopefully by then, he’ll have figured out that in the chase to sign him M-1’s interests are being put before his.

Update 2: Just for a side by side (or top to bottom) comparison of both sides official comments on the situation, here’s what Dana White said on the UFC conference call.

“Trust me when I tell you, we did everything to make this deal happen. He got offered a f—ing assload of money. A ton of money, everything he wanted. He can go fight in sambo every f—ing Thursday night if he wants to. He can do everything he wanted to. We showed them nothing but respect. Everything. It’s insanity to turn down a deal like this. To turn down a deal like this, you don’t care about proving you’re the best in the world, you don’t want to fight the best in the world, you don’t care about money. How do you deal with something like that?…I didn’t wake up feeling good; I knew. I knew we were going to make that deal…I was f—ing miserable, miserable … because we couldn’t make this deal. I was so confident we were going to get this done because we were willing to do it. We were willing to make a deal at almost any cost…There’s no compromise on co-promotion. Why the hell would I let anyone come in and co-promote. The Fertittas risked all their money. All the things we did in busting our ass in the 10 years we’ve been in this business, and these guys are going to walk in and say, ‘We’re going to be in business with you guys’?…It’d be done. We’d be announcing his fight right now, too [if the co-promotion demand was dropped]…They can call me right now. They can call me tomorrow. They can call me next month. I’m ready to roll. I’m ready to make this deal. The fans want to see this fight. It’s my job to make this fight happen. It’s what I do for a living, so I’m trying…I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. If he wants to call and make a deal, I’m in. I’m ready.”

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