It appears an important detail regarding Fedor Emelianenko’s status with Strikeforce got lost in translation a couple weeks ago when Scott Coker said Fedor Emelianenko was scheduled to fight Fabricio Werdum in June. I took that to mean Strikeforce and M-1 worked out their highly publicized differences and were set to move full steam ahead as co-promotional partners.
MMA Junkie is reporting that Strikeforce has reserved the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California for an event on June 26. Word is Fedor will likely headline the card against Werdum as Coker said, however Strikeforce and M-1 still haven’t finalized the contract they’ve spent the past month or so renegotiating. If they don’t come to an agreement in time, no Fedor. While M-1 has played up the issue of branding in the media, it seems the problems are stemming from the Fedor-Rogers show not turning a profit.
This past August, M-1 Global signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce for Emelianenko’s services that included an agreement to co-promote future events. Emelianenko headlined the CBS-televised “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” three months later. The show was not profitable, and shortly afterward, M-1 sought to renegotiate the deal.
According to sources familiar with negotiations, talks recently broke down due to the concessions M-1 requested in a new deal for Emelianenko. The areas of discussion include co-branding between the promotions, financial responsibility for profits and losses incurred in co-promoted events, and Emelianenko’s compensation per fight.
M-1 representative Apy Echteld told MMAjunkie.com last week that Emelianenko’s new deal is expected to be finalized shortly. However, separate sources said that negotiations are ongoing and several contract stipulations remain unresolved.
A meeting between the companies this past Thursday was described by one source as a “last-ditch effort” to finish the deal.
I’m not sure what to make of it just yet. On one hand, both sides keep saying it will be “finalized shortly,” but on the other, they’ve been saying that for weeks. Throw in a “last-ditch effort” or two and you begin to wonder if, not when, they’ll reach a deal. I’d still bank on Fedor remaining in the Strikeforce stable for the foreseeable future, but crazier things have happened. We’ll see.
Of course, Fedor isn’t the only other high-profile fighter Strikeforce has to worry about keeping these days. Jake Shields recently revealed he was entering into free agency following the Dan Henderson fight, win or lose. He says he had the opportunity to renegotiate before the fight, but opted to see what he could get on the open market. It doesn’t sound like Jake feels too bad about it either considering Strikeforce has been promoting the hell out of Hendo even though he’s the champion.
“By them doing that it’s kind of pushing me out, but who knows, nothing’s 100 percent at this point still,” said Shields. “I’m just worried about training really hard, and if I go out there and beat Henderson it’s really going to shake things up and put me in a really good situation.”
“There’s a lot of factors to take in place, but I’m just worried about getting through this fight and take it from there,” said Shields. “I know Henderson’s a tough fight for the last fight on my contract, but I feel like going for it and taking it from there and see what happens.”
Even if Jake loses on April 17, he’ll still be in a pretty good position. The UFC needs welterweight contenders so they’re going to try and pick him up no matter what. It’s just a question of how high the UFC is willing to drive his price up based on how he performs against Henderson.
No update yet on Gegard Mousasi’s contractual status. He is expected to become a free agent if he loses to King Mo, but he sounded pretty gung-ho about re-signing with Strikeforce regardless of the outcome the last time he spoke about it.