Fedor Emelianenko, Tom Atencio, and Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of Affliction Entertainment.
After a week of speculation, Fedor Emelianenko has put the rumors to rest as the former PRIDE heavyweight champion signed a multi-fight agreement that will see him headline events co-promoted by Strikeforce and M-1 Global.
Emelianenko’s debut under the Strikeforce M-1 banner is expected to come this Fall on Showtime.
“I am looking forward to going back to work and fighting at the highest level,” said Emelianenko. “Strikeforce is a top fight promotion that houses some of the greatest fighters in the world. I am prepared to fight any of them.”
After the fall of Affliction, Emelianenko and his camp took part in intense negotiations with Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC. Zuffa was said to have offered Emelianenko a very lucrative contract but the main sticking point was they were not willing to co-promote with M-1 Global.
When the deal fell apart, UFC president Dana White said, “There is no compromise on the co-promotion. Why would I let anybody come in and co-promote with us? This thing we built, the Fertittas risked all their money, all the things we’ve done and busted our asses over for the ten years that we’ve been in this business and these guys are gonna walk in and say ‘yeah, we’re gonna be in business with these guys.”
Emelianenko now enters a promotion that is rather light on top tier heavyweight talent. Currently, Emelianenko is looking at bouts with Brett Rogers, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum.