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Strikeforce Targets Fedor’s Next Fight for July

Fedor Emelianenko is coming back for StrikeforceIt seemed like yesterday that a bloody Fedor Emelianenko lost via TKO to Big Foot Silva and was announcing his retirement. Well his retirement has lasted less than Brett Favre’s. Scott Coker told reporters this week that Strikeforce is targeting a July return for the Last Emperor.

The future of Fedor Emelianenko’s career was a big question mark coming off of his first round loss in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. The MMA world was stunned when the tournament favorite was stopped in the first round on a TKO. Conflicting reports cited that Fedor had announced his retirement after the fight. Whether he did or didn’t doesn’t matter at this point because it looks like Fedor is preparing for war.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told the media this week that Strikeforce is hoping to get Fedor Emelianenko back in action by July. Coker indicated that Fedor is currently in training for his next fight, although no opponent has been named. Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking of a Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko Super Fight after Hendo beat Rafael Feijao Cavalcante. While many are beating that drum, Scott Coker doesn’t seem ready to give fans the song they want to hear.

“I’m thinking the weight difference might be too much,” he said. “Can that gap be bridged? I’m not sure. But I know Dan will fight anybody. He’ll fight anybody in a fight booth. It doesn’t matter to him.”

As of today, Scott Coker is not hot on Fedor vs. Henderson. Coker thinks that Henderson is “too small” for the fight. I happen to agree with him but at the end of the day I think it is a fight worth making. Fedor is a very small heavyweight at 230 pounds although cutting 25 pounds may be a bit much to ask. There is always the possibility of a catch weight fight somewhere in the middle at 215? Dan Henderson has said that he would be interested in fighting Fedor, but that could change if Fedor wasn’t willing to come down to 205.

“To me, he’s not the reason I signed with Strikeforce just to fight him… although that is interesting and appealing to me to be able to challenge myself against him”

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So what do you do with Fedor in July? The final round of Strikeforce Grand Prix fights won’t take place until June which makes the losers unavailable to fight Fedor. There is always Andrei Arlovski but at this point, I don’t think anyone would buy that matchup. Unfortunately July is probably too soon to bring anyone over from the UFC to fight Fedor, so don’t look there. So how do you maximize your investment with a guy that makes a reported $1million a fight?

Strikeforce has already delayed the Grand Prix tournament two months, so why not make a Antonio Silva vs. Fedor Emelianenko rematch? Silva would be fighting the winner of Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum next in the tournament. But, Overeem and Werdum aren’t fighting until June which would make that semi-final fight unavailable until at least September. Instead of keeping Silva on the shelf until then, Strikeforce could come back with an immediate Fedor vs. Silva rematch. Other than Silva or Arlovski, I don’t know who is out there that makes sense at this point.

At this point it appears that the Strikeforce sale to Zuffa, LLC won’t impact Fedor’s status in Strikeforce. Fedor’s management, M1 Global has said that they intend to honor their Strikeforce contract which calls for three more fights. Fedor vs. Silva in February shattered Showtime ratings bringing in 741,000 viewers. With those kinds of numbers, Zuffa and Showtime aren’t letting Fedor go anywhere.

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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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