Randy Couture, as you might expect, is a little disappointed that Fedor didn’t sign with the UFC, but he’s not surprised. He thinks negotiations might have turned out differently if Fedor was alone, but with M-1 involved, building the brand took priority over the amount of money offered in the contract.
Here’s M-1 VP of something Jerry Millen elaborating on that very topic.
“It boils down to respect. (M-1 Global president) Vadim (Finkelchtein) has been doing MMA for a long time, and he wants the M-1 brand to grow, for profit or for loss. We’re in a co-promotion for Strikeforce as a co-promotion. If it makes a profit, great, we all make a profit. If it makes a loss, we share in that loss. It’s not about the money. If it’s about the money, then you take the sure money, and you take it and say, ‘This money is a payday that we’re going to get, guaranteed, and let’s take this payday. There may even be some bonus structures, and it’s going to make it a bigger payday.’ Or do we take this risk on a co-promotion? Then we can build something…At the end of the day, it’s not about money if you really think about it. You can take a guaranteed figure that’s probably pretty good. You’re going to know at the end of the day what you’re going to get. But if you want to grow your company and get the respect that you deserve? One minute Dana’s saying, ‘Fedor is irrelevant; [expletive] him,’ and then the next day he’s like, ‘Oh, he’s the greatest fighter in the world, I want him. Now he’s back to, ‘This guy sucks.’ So he can’t make his mind up. You see what I’m saying? If he doesn’t get his way, it’s either his way or no way. That’s what it boils down to. [M-1 Global] just wants to work somewhere where it’s fair.”
Like most everyone, yeah, I was pretty disappointed that things didn’t work out between Fedor/M-1 and the UFC. But at the end of the day, it’s their right to do what they feel is best for them. If trying to build M-1 into something bigger was more important to them than the money, then I can respect that. I have serious doubts about them succeeding since Zuffa in all likelihood is going to break open the war chest, but I’m not going to blame them for trying. I just hope this is what Fedor wants, and not M-1 using him to get what they want.