The body of M-1 Global isn’t even cold yet, and MMA organizations with money to burn are already hot on Fedor Emelianenko‘s heels. Two separate reports have surfaced hinting at where Emelianenko may fight next. First, from Nokaut.com:
A reliable source has confirmed ProElite, Inc. has offered Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (27-1) a four-fight, 18-month contract…The contract calls for Emelianenko’s first two fights in the promotion to broadcast on American television network CBS as a part of the recently inked deal between ProElite and the TV giant. The final two fights would air on pay-per-view and share proceeds with Emelianenko.
M-1 Global Vice President Brian Patton denies the earlier report that Emelianenko was never under contract to M-1 Global, and ProElite’s offer seems to be on the same page, stipulating that Emelianenko will be announced in ProElite fights as “M-1 Global’s Fedor Emelianenko.”
Elsewhere, the still-sketchy partnership between Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Affliction Clothing may have approached the Last Emperor as well. According to an article on 5thRound:
[T]hey already have Matt “The Law” Lindland signed to a three-fight contract, and are chasing after a few other big name fighters as well. Fedor Emelianenko has been linked with the new organization, but according to Inside MMA they are also looking to sign Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Ben Rothwell and Aleksander Emelianenko.
Part of us hopes that Fedor can sign non-exclusive deals with both of these outfits (and maybe others) so he can regularly be involved in superfights that would be broadcast on CBS and HBO. But we can’t shake the feeling that a fighter needs to be committed to a single organization for his fights to really matter. What made Fedor a star in PRIDE, and Randy Couture a star in the UFC? The belt. And what do you accomplish by defeating someone in a one-off match promoted by Golden Boy/Affliction? A truckload of money, yes. The knowledge that you beat Fighter X, also yes. But if there’s no system involving contenders, title shots, and championship belts, question marks will always remain in your legacy. Anyway, just something to consider. A more open, promotional model may turn out to be better for MMA’s elite, big-named fighters, but will it really be better for the sport?