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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson Negotiations Heat Up

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson is targeted for late summerAccording to several sources, the biggest fight in Strikeforce history is days away from being finalized. Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko is being targeted for late summer. The fight would potentially bring Strikeforce to pay per view and offer one of the most intriguing fights of 2011.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that negotiations for a Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson Strikeforce Super Fight have heated up. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed those reports over the weekend. Coker told reporters over the weekend that the main sticking point in negotiations right now is what weight the fight would be contested at.

“We asked Fedor if he’d come down to 205 [pounds], and that didn’t come to a good result,” said Coker. “So, you know, we’re going to keep pushing and hopefully have something to announce in the next two weeks or so. Right now, the fight’s not made yet. Sometimes it’s the little things – and I don’t want to get into the contract negotiations – but it’s the little things where somebody wants this, somebody wants that.”

An SI.com report says that Henderson wants to fight Fedor at heavyweight while Fedor has proposed a catchweight fight at 215-220 between the former PRIDE FC stars. Dave Meltzer clarified this on his podcast. Meltzer reports that the stips for the fight would indeed be Henderson moving up to heavyweight. However, Meltzer reports that Fedor would not be allowed to weigh more than 220 for the fight thus making it a catchweight bout billed as a heavyweight fight. Got that?

I suggested Strikeforce make the fight in my post-fight story after Dan Henderson defeated Rafael Feijao Cavalcante. “There is also huge money in a potential Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko Strikeforce light heavyweight title fight. Following his early exit from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, there has been a lot of buzz about the possibility of Fedor moving down to light heavyweight.” Granted, it wasn’t a very bold prediction but it is nice to be right once in awhile.

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I think now with Zuffa, LLC owning Strikeforce it makes this fight a little more difficult from happening. Fedor’s management team, M1 Global have had contentious relations with Zuffa for a few years now following failed negotiations to bring Fedor to the UFC. My guess is that with Zuffa now in the mix, M1 will start playing games when at the end of the day they just want more money. There is only so much money that can be drained from the Strikeforce well. M1 know the stakes are much higher when playing with the big boys and their greed is likely the only thing keeping this fight from happening.

As Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson has more options for his next fight than Fedor Emelianenko. All of Fedor’s potential opponents are locked up in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix until September at the earliest. With the high price tag that comes with Fedor, it makes no sense to match him up against someone like Andrei Arlovski or Chad Griggs. Say what you will about Fedor as a fighter in 2011 but he still brings a huge audience with him so giving him anything less than a main-event won’t help anyone.

Henderson vs. Fedor would be the biggest fight on paper in the history of Strikeforce. A fight like that combined with Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, and a few Grand Prix tournament matches would make a hell of a pay per view. Add the UFC marketing machine behind it and you have the potential for a show that could outsell most UFC pay per view events.

The timing is right and if Strikeforce can pull this off, a lot of MMA fans will start counting down the days until the Last Emperor and Hollywood get it on. Some already are and the contracts haven’t even been drawn up yet.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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