Scott Coker was a guest on TapouT Radio last night to talk about Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko/M-1 Global deal.
Coker confirmed it’s a one year agreement for three fights. Currently, there is no set plan for Fedor to fight on CBS or on pay-per-view, but it’s certainly a possibility. They just haven’t figured it out yet. As for their approach with Fedor, he probably won’t get an immediate title shot. Their tentative plan is build towards a big title fight against Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem after a couple fights (my bet is one). There’s also the possibility of putting them both on the same card in the fall against different opponents for that very reason.
At the end of the interview, Coker answered the biggest question about the M-1 deal. It’s a revenue split like commonly seen in boxing, though he didn’t specify what the percentages are. So if I’m understanding this correctly, Strikeforce won’t have to pay Fedor a purse (I’m questioning this now, see update). Instead, they split the event revenues with M-1 based on whatever terms they agreed to, and M-1 would in turn pay Fedor since he’s under contract with them. As long as the percentage is fair it seems like a much better deal for Strikeforce than being obligated to pay him a $1 million+ purse each time he fights. Now whether or not that turns out to be more lucrative for M-1 versus taking the UFC deal remains to be seen. A large percentage of small amount isn’t necessarily better than a small percentage of a very large amount. In the short-term, I’d say no way. In the long-term, maybe, but I definitely wouldn’t bet it.
Coker went on to talk a little bit about preliminary talks they’ve had about doing big Strikeforce/M-1/FEG(K-1 & DREAM) shows pitting some of Strikeforce’s best against DREAM’s best against M-1’s (Fedor & Mousasi), etc. It sounded like such an event could potentially take place anywhere from the US to Russia to Japan.
And one last thing, Coker also dispelled rumors floating around that the UFC may prevent the Mousasi-Babalu fight from happening. As rumor has it, the UFC sent Strikeforce a cease and desist in regards to the fight. Coker didn’t deny they received the C&D, but he was confident it would take place as scheduled.
Image via All Elbows
Update: Scott Coker also appeared on the Carmichael Dave show. He talked a little bit more about the co-promotion deal with M-1. To clarify, they will only split revenues on events that Fedor fights on. Also, I mentioned above that based on what Coker said I didn’t think Strikeforce would have to pay Fedor anything. However, from all the reports and comments I’m reading, a lot of people seem to think Strikeforce will still be required to pay Fedor a purse. It’s also possible Strikeforce would only have to pay part of his purse. I honestly don’t know 100% one way or the other, so don’t take that as fact unless the parties involved confirm that particular detail.
Update 2: This quote from Coker doesn’t necessarily answer who’s paying who, but it does give a little insight into what we’re looking at. In short, it’s complicated.
As for the deal itself, Coker was short on the details surrounding his agreement with M-1.
“The compensation package was very complex,” said Coker. “As you can imagine with Fedor, there’s foreign rights issues, licensing rights issues, sponsorship issues, domestic television issues, the (video) games –- there are a lot of things that are going to make up the piece of pies because with Fedor, there’s international revenue stream that come into play rather quickly.”
Coker also tried to downplay any talk about the Fedor deal causing a war between Strikeforce and the UFC.
“Why would one fighter create a war? I don’t think this will escalate like the fans like to gossip (it will).”
“I would hate to think this would be the catalyst for this to escalate,” said Coker. “To me, I’m still of the feeling that everything’s going to be OK. We’re running our business the way we’re running it and they’re going to continue with their successful business. I guess they say only time will tell.”