(In my recurring nightmare a Brazilian spider chokes me out with his legs. He’s right behind me isn’t he? / Photo courtesy of Inphotography.com.)
Despite a general consensus that Fedor Emelianenko‘s days as a Strikeforce fighter are likely over after he fulfills his last fight obligation with the organization, "The Last Emperor" says that he is happy with the California-based promotion and that he will likely sign another deal with them.
"So far I feel very comfortable fighting, very good with my fighting, and I’m planning [to fight] as long as I can physically," he said in a recent interview with M-1global.com. "As far and I’m concerned we should discuss the possibility of signing another contract for four to six fights."
There was talk that after Emelianenko lost to Fabrico Werdum two months ago that M-1 was on the brink of collapse, partially due to the surprising loss by it’s principle asset. The company is said to have fired a number of its employees and closed up shop in the Netherlands, the location of its head office for several years.
A large portion of M-1′s revenue came from cross promotional agreements they were able to secure with pretty much every promotion Emelianenko fought for the past few years including Strikeforce, but considering Fedor’s stock has dropped somewhat with the loss to Werdum, the company lost some of its bargaining power.
Fedor has long been coveted by Dana White as a fighter whose services he wanted to acquire, but since the loss the UFC president has said that he is no longer interested in signing Emelianenko, especially since he lost to a guy he cut from his organization nearly two years ago.
Recognizing that their client’s options are somewhat limited in North America and that they stand to make more money if they renew their co-promotional agreement with Strikeforce, it seems that M-1 has decided that extending Fedor’s contract with the promotion is the most sound business deal it can make.
Although no date for Emelianenko’s next fight has been set, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker hinted recently that Fedor will likely not get a shot at heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in his next bout as the promotion is leaning towards Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva as "The Demolition Man’s" next opponent. This could be a negotiation tactic by Coker to ensure that Fedor doesn’t just take the belt and run without renewing his contract if he beats Overeem, but since he isn’t known for his brilliant business prowess, it isn’t likely.
As far as a rematch with Werdum, Emelianenko will have to wait until the Brazilian submission expert heals from elbow surgery before he will get a chance at redemption.
According to M-1 Global Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan negotiations surrounding his client’s next fight have already been initiated, although he wouldn’t name any potential opponents.
"The relationship between ourselves, Strikeforce and Showtime is a good one," he said. "We had a great event in June in San Jose, and we look forward to more good events with our partners. … [We] are in talks to extend the contract for Fedor and at the same time to settle on who, when and where he is fighting next. These talks are going smoothly, and we are hopeful of a full resolution very shortly."
The reality is, besides Overeem and Werdum, Strikeforce doesn’t have many legitimate opponents for Fedor and one of them have already beaten him and the other can’t seem to get matched up with him. Silva’s not a bad third choice, but he hasn’t done much to indicate he can beat a guy at the skill level of Fedor. In his past two fights he beat Andrei Arlovski via decision and lost to Werdum in the same way.