Fedor Emelianenko. Photo by Esther Lin/AllElbows.com.
It's been nearly a month since Fedor Emelianenko fell to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and promptly announced that he was leaning towards ending the greatest career that this sport has ever seen.
Since then, it remains unknown whether or not PRIDE's final heavyweight champion will fight once more, but the word coming out of Emelianenko's camp is that he is preparing for a return to action in the near future. In the meantime, Emelianenko's handlers, M-1 Global, have also announced a deal with Showtime that will have the network air four M-1 Challenge events this year.
I think you know where I'm going with this.
It's common knowledge that when it comes to Strikeforce and its roster of fighters, some are signed to deals with Strikeforce and others with Showtime. Frank Shamrock for example, was never property of Strikeforce for the final four years of his career. He was employed by Showtime.
So out of curosity, I contacted Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce's Director of Communications, to see if he could tell me whether or not Fedor was under contract to Strikeforce.
His reply: "We cannot legally discuss contractual matters."
Take that as you will.
Now, I'm not insinuating that M-1 Global is going to go behind Strikeforce's back and attempt to have Emelianenko headline one of their M-1 Challenge shows later this year. I'm simply pointing out that the possibility is there.
Even though Fedor has lost his last two fights, he remains one of the most popular and marketable fighters out there. His value may have decreased, but people are still going to want to watch him fight. He's still the greatest fighter of all-time outside of Anderson Silva if he's your pick. Nothing is going to change that.
That is why even if his next fight is simply a gimme matchup to help him get back on track, it needs to happen in Strikeforce, which has the name value to attract the viewers that M-1 will not, regardless of whether they are on Showtime.
Scott Coker is confident that Fedor will finish out his deal. That's three more fights if I'm not mistaken. I'm not so sure that Fedor will stick around for that long, but it's going to be an interesting contract to see played out nonetheless.
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