First, the good news:
The “Yarennoka!” New Year’s Eve event that will feature Fedor Emelianenko will be shown live on HDNet. The all-high-definition cable channel already had a stacked month of MMA scheduled, with live broadcasts of HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon on 12/15 and the IFL 2007 World Grand Prix Finals on 12/29, and the landing of Fedor Emelianenko in his first match since April is a huge coup.
“This announcement reinforces our commitment to becoming the home for live MMA action,” said HDNet owner Mark Cuban. “No one else but HDNet will have the return of Fedor live from Japan.”
Now, the bad news: Emelianenko’s opponent has not yet been named. Hong Man Choi competes at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final tournament this Saturday, and with a first-round draw of Jerome Le Banner, he could be in no condition to fight again just three weeks later. Later rumors named Josh Barnett as Fedor’s opponent, but his participation hasn’t been locked down yet either. So, kind of a gamble for HDNet — the possibility of Fedor fighting a random last-minute replacement could make for a supremely disappointing night that could negatively affect MMA fans’ opinion of the channel. But honestly, who the hell would fight Fedor Emelianenko on such short notice? Bo Cantrell? It should be noted that heavyweights Mark Hunt and Aleksander Emelianenko are also scheduled to fight at Yarennoka!, but currently lack opponents. I say throw the three of them in a cage together and see who’s the last man standing. Obviously, the Emelianenko brothers would table-top Hunt, pound him out, then agree on a draw, but hey, if you can think of a better main event I’m all ears.