During a press conference following DREAM 13, Scott Coker told reporters that Fedor Emelianenko would finally make his Strikeforce return this summer, seven months after his second-round knockout of Brett Rogers:
"M-1 Global and Strikeforce entered into a three fight contract exclusive for Fedor to fight in a co-promotion between Strikeforce and M-1 Global, and as you know we did the first fight on November 7 in Chicago. Fedor is now scheduled to fight in June towards the end of the month in America against Fabricio Werdum
Better than nothing, I guess — although it’s still ridiculous that Fedor is fighting another contender, while Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem is booked for a non-title exhibition against Brett Rogers in May. No other matches have been announced for Strikeforce’s June card yet.
The relationship between Strikeforce and M-1 Global appeared strained in recent weeks, with reports of renegotiations making the rounds. But although the dispute may sound like a money grab, M-1 says that what they’re really after is greater brand visibility. From a report by Dave Meltzer on Yahoo!:
[M-1 Global director of operations Evgeni] Kogan allowed that M-1 Global was disappointed in what happened with the promotion of the last fight, but was quick to say the problem wasn’t with Strikeforce. He said he was disappointed in media coverage of the event because the M-1 Global name in stories on the show wasn’t featured more visibly.
“The way the show was promoted, that was an issue to us, but we don’t have an issue with Strikeforce over it,” Kogan said. “M-1 isn’t a management company for Fedor Emelianenko. We are a fight promotion. We have done matches all over the world, U.S., Asia, Europe, Japan. But the media didn’t feature the M-1 name [in coverage of the November show]. Specifically, it wasn’t Strikeforce’s fault. They honored their agreement. The way the media perceived the event was it was Strikeforce. M-1 wasn’t promoted that much. That was an issue with us.”
CBS promoted the November show more as “CBS Saturday Night Fights” as opposed to promoting the Strikeforce or M-1 Global brand names. “For us, this is a really big deal,” Kogan said. “We’re concerned about our brand. For us, it’s an important piece of the big picture.”
Well, you can’t force the media to care about M-1 Global, especially when they don’t seem to do anything besides collect money and make things difficult for Scott Coker. If Strikeforce has promised M-1 more attention in their broadcasts, then that’s the price of doing business. But M-1 is going to be disappointed if they think they’re going to gain any brand traction in this country apart from their relationship with Fedor.