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Scott Coker: Strikeforce & M-1 ‘One Big Happy Family Now’

After six long, frustrating months of negotiations between Strikeforce, Showtime and M-1 Global, it’s a giant relief that they finally reached a deal to put Fedor Emelianenko back in the cage. And now that we’ve digested what they have in store for Fedor in 2011, it’s time to ask what the heck took so long?

Scott Coker blamed the language and culture barriers.

There are many complications with the deal. Part of it is because it’s not something (where) you can just pick up the phone and talk to the manager in English. You can’t just drive to his house and sit down and meet him face to face.

There are just so many obstacles in the culture barrier, the language barrier. Things just moved along very slowly. It was frustrating at times, but now that Fedor’s on board, it was definitely worth it. To have him in our tournament is going to be a special treat, not just for us as a company and I’m sure Showtime as a television partner, but also to the fans. To have Fedor in this tournament is going to be very special.

Fedor’s manager, Vadim Finelchtein, was equally vague.

There weren’t any major issues that were ever preventing a deal. Everyone’s busy, and everyone is interested in their own interests. We made our position clear and Fedor made his position clear as far as what it would take to do an extension, and they made their position clear as to what they can do. It just took some time to iron that out.

There were never any major problems with what Fedor wanted and what everyone else could do and wanted. It was just a matter of negotiating and getting there where it was comfortable for everyone involved.

ESPN’s Josh Gross said in his report that the deal was delayed at the end because Fedor was off training somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Russia, but that doesn’t really answer what happened in the months before. We’ll likely never get the real answer, but at this point, let’s just all be happy that it’s finally over.

Scott Coker seems to be. He says there won’t be any renegotiating after Fedor’s next fight as many fear, and that Strikeforce, Showtime and M-1 Global are all “one big, happy family now.”

“No more renegotiation. The beauty of the deal, and I can’t get into the details of the contract, but it’s multi-fight and multi-year. Fedor will be doing co-promotion with Strikeforce, M-1 and Showtime for many years to come… we’ve been talking to the M-1 folks, and we’re all one, big, happy family now.”

Time will tell if that’s the case, but if everything goes according to plan, Coker thinks it’s “very possible” Fedor ends his career with Strikeforce. Their new deal calls for four fights, but Finkelchtein says there are mechanisms in place to extend that if Fedor wants to continue fighting.

In other words, any chance of seeing Fedor Emelianenko, at least anywhere near his prime, is pretty much dead in the water now.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime

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