MMA Fightline is saying that sources close to M-1 Global have confirmed the following:
…they received an offer from Art Of War to set up a fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Pedro Rizzo. M-1 was uninterested in the offer however and it was promptly rejected. No further details were given as to the reason.
There’s certainly got to be more to this story than a simple turn down. Maybe it’s the actual offer, because it doesn’t seem like M-1 has got something better in its back pocket. Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo is 16-7 and became the Art Of War’s heavyweight division champ back in September via TKO over the musically-challenged and horribly-tattooed Jeff Monson. Since this Couture thing looks miles down the road, The Rock would be a logical fight for Fedor – especially to the pea-brained nay sayers that say he never takes a tough fight.
Fedor is going to be fighting in April, but Rizzo isn’t part of that plan. Sherdog had this earlier in the week:
Obviously M-1 Global is working hard even in the early stages to make the multi-million dollar Couture-Emelianenko fight happen.
In the short-term, M-1 Global pushed back its U.S. debut from February to April. The promotion had the chance to book the United Center in Chicago for Feb. 16 but opted against it as fighter negotiations had not progressed accordingly. April 11 now appears to be the targeted date for either the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., or the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Regardless of venue and date, Emelianenko is headlining the event. As for his opponent, Dutchman Semmy Schilt seems to have overtaken Pedro Rizzo and Jeff Monson in favor with Finkelstein and company. The three-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion made a successful comeback to MMA on Jan. 12 and will be in Moscow the second weekend in February to negotiate the details.
Schilt makes us yawn, Monson would have made us tune in, and a Rizzo fight would’ve been intriguing. Then again, we’re all just passing the time until The Natural steps into the cage to get this thing settled once and for all. But for now, it’s Randy vs. Father Time – and the UFC.