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Fedor Emelianenko Cut From Strikeforce

The Fedor Emelianenko Strikeforce era is officially over. UFC president Dana White informed the media on Thursday that Zuffa has cut Fedor from Strikeforce and isn’t interested in negotiating a new deal with M1 Global.

I guess God’s will is not for Fedor not to fight in Strikeforce anymore. The news came in the middle of a UFC 133 press conference. Fedor essentially became a free agent on Sunday morning after losing his third fight in a row. According to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, Fedor’s contract expired with the Henderson fight.

… And for the record, Fedor had one fight left on his SF/Showtime deal. Hope that clears that up.

[adinserter block=”1″]I am starting to feel really bad for Scott Coker. Coker seems like a really nice guy, but Zuffa is doing everything it can to cut the guy’s legs out from under him. Coker told the media Saturday night that Strikeforce wanted Fedor back. Less than a week later his boss tells the media differently. Coker just can’t catch a break these days.

I know that Fedor lost three in a row, but this move essentially kills Strikeforce. With all due respect to the rest of the fighters in the company, it’s over. In a matter of a few months Zuffa has gotten rid of all of the top draws in the company. Nick Diaz, Fedor, Alistair Overeem, and Dan Henderson are done with the company. Zuffa has managed the Strikeforce championships worse than Strikeforce did before the merger which almost seems impossible. In a matter of a few months Strikeforce is now left with two vacant titles (three is you take into consideration that Henderson is not technically under contract), one big draw, and a complete mess on the bottom.

It didn’t have to be this way. The Nick Diaz situation was a difficult one because he really had the company by the neck. However, the Golden Glory situation did not have to happen. They had Alistair Overeem under contract and didn’t need to cut him. The Fedor situation is rough one. I can see arguments on both sides. However, just giving up without even a negotiation just sounds utterly ridiculous to me.

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I can’t say I completely blame Zuffa. The co-promotional deal that M1 and Strikeforce had would never work in a renegotiation. But I wonder if this lack of interest in Fedor is more personal than business and if it is personal, it is very unfair to Showtime and the other fighters in Strikeforce. Yes he lost three in a row, but he still would have been a ratings draw for the company. I wouldn’t have any problem at all with them telling him to walk under the current contract, but I can’t imagine there was much negotiating in five days.

So where does this leave Fedor? MMA in the United States is at a real turning point. There really aren’t any options as it stands today for someone like Fedor, yet you have a big demand in the United States to see him fight. Zuffa for better or worse can lock out a fighter or management team without worrying about competition. Compound the lack of competition with a dip in business this year and you have a situation that could reach a boiling point in the next one-two years for the UFC and the sport as a whole in this country.

[adinserter block=”1″]M-1 Global is telling the media that Fedor is still under contract to Showtime. It is not inconceivable to think that Showtime would promote a big MMA show with Fedor under the M1 banner. I can’t imagine that anyone at Showtime is anything less than angry with the current Strikeforce situation. Showtime could partner up with M1 and maybe even Pro Elite and start promoting shows with Fedor on top. With Alistair Overeem available, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see a Fedor vs. Overeem fight in the near future on Showtime. That is if what M-1 is saying is true.

The boys over at the Bloody Elbow blog made a great point about the poor timing of the announcement. With the UFC struggling to sell tickets to UFC 133 on Saturday night, they are drawing attention off of the show by making that announcement today. The only advantage to making that announcement today is whatever glee and personal satisfaction Dana White would get being the first to break the news as opposed to M1 presenting the story as if Fedor and M1 have no interest in negotiating. And if so, who cares? I can’t see any reason they couldn’t have waited until sometime next week to make the announcement.

Then again, there is nothing Zuffa is doing these days in regards to Strikeforce that surprises me anymore.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Great article btw!
    A little off topic,but you are mosdef right abt ZUFFA making "weird" decisions lately,when it come to SF's roster!
    The Golden Glory thing;I'm not getting it! Plain and simple.V.O,I can understand.Alister was injured before his last fight vs Werdum,and he fought anyway.And IMO,it make sens since he wasnt the same fighter as he usually is.So,I do believe him when he says that he need more time to recuperate(hes got a shoulder injury,a toe injury and…another one that I dont remember!).
    As for…(damn,forgot her name…anyway) the ex female champ,one of the best in the world(top 3-5 max!) being released…after she just lost her belt.We,fans,deserve some information,cuz frankly,it doesnt make any sens!
    I'm a Dana White fan,but when he get personal like this…he look childish IMO.(you cant play with ppl-fighters livelihood like this!I'm not worried abt Overeem,but the younger ones…)
    I dont like monopoly at all!

  2. I called this one, exactly the way it worked out. This isn't over yet, though. Give the UFC another two years to blow the power it has over MMA. Dana knows what he is doing and he never said he is not interested in Fedor. His beef, in reality, is with M1-Global. Fedor is secondary now. Under UFC control, any fighter who loses 3-4 in a row, why keep him around, unless he is a great draw? Fedor has too much baggage that comes with him (M1, Showtime), so until ties are cut (finally are), there is no need for a co-promotion with the UFC. The UFC does not co-promote, period. Now that ties have been cut, all Dana has to do is wait until Fedor cuts his ties with Showtime and M1-Global, and if Fedor ever wants to fight in a major organization, he'll use his head and disband his M1 organization, or sell his portion of it. Once that is done, if Fedor can start winning again and he doesn't wait too long to cut those ties, he still stands a chance of fighting for the UFC. Just not as a grandpa. He needs to do this soon.

  3. I think the reasoning for this move has nothing to do with mismanagement actually. UFC will absorb Strikeforce as soon as the renegotiation option comes up with Showtime next year. The only purpose SF served was to create new contenders and get in with Showtime. UFC is in a position now where the only big questions as to the merger are: When? and Will the women get to come in too?

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