In not so surprising news, Dana White confirmed after the UFC 133 pre-fight press conference that Strikeforce is in the process of releasing Fedor Emelianenko.
“Yeah, he’s being cut,” White confirmed. “You guys thought he was the pound-for-pound best in the world, I said he was overrated for years.”
Dana later said that he wasn’t 100% sure if his contract was merely up or if they’re releasing him since he’s been “so far removed” from the Fedor situation, but either way, Strikeforce is done with Fedor Emelianenko.
Just because Strikeforce is done with Fedor though doesn’t necessarily mean Showtime is. When MMA Junkie asked M-1’s Evgeni Kogan for comment, Kogan explained that Fedor’s contract is with Showtime, not Strikeforce.
“Really? Given that [White] doesn’t have a contract with Fedor, interesting.”
Kogan stated that Emelianenko’s contract lies not with the recently acquired Strikeforce but instead with Showtime Networks, Inc., who played a major role in bringing the Russian back to the negotiating table after talks with Strikeforce broke down in the latter half of 2010.
So in theory, Fedor could still fight for Showtime on one of their M-1 Global shows, but then you have to ask who would pay for Fedor’s hefty purse without a major promotion chipping in?
Update: Ariel Helwani provides a little more clarity to the Fedor/M-1/Showtime situation.
Update: And Evgeni Kogan brings further clarification.
“M-1 is moving forward with M-1 Challenges as we have been the whole year,” M-1 Director of Global Operations Evgeni Kogan told MMA Nation’s Jonathan Snowden. “We are also going to be moving forward with Fedor’s future.”
“It is totally fair to say that contract issues were not unexpected following the Fedor v Hendo fight,” Kogan told MMA Nation. “However we feel that there is more unfinished business (should Fedor decide that he’d like to continue fighting) and Showtime has been a great partner for Fedor and for M-1. We will do everything that we can to continue that relationship and grow it, both for us as a promotion and Fedor as a fighter.”
“I think that the M-1 has evolved as an organization this year, we held tournaments in the U.S. and Russia, and I hope that the media and fans have a clear understanding of the separate activities of M-1, which has traditionally been considered first and foremost a team responsible for the management of Fedor , and M-1 Global as an independent organization. So I can say that the M-1 as an organization does not make any official statements about Fedor’s future.”