(Prof. Fedor‘s freshman seminar on Chaucer, brought to you by St. Petersburg University in co-promotion with M-1 Global. Next week, "The Parson’s Tale"!)
As Mike Goldberg would say, “It is aaallllll over!” The Great Fedor Sweepstakes of 2009 has finally come to an end, and it’s Strikeforce who netted the Russian heavyweight with, according to today’s Strikeforce press release, “a historic, multi-fight agreement that will see him headline mega-events co-promoted by world championship promotions STRIKEFORCE and M-1 Global.”
That’s right, Strikeforce caved to the co-promotion demands that proved to be the immovable object separating Fedor and the UFC. Get ready for lots of awkward speeches from Vadim Finkelchtein and plenty of M-1 Global logos plastered all over the arena when Strikeforce comes to your town. But the big question is, now that they’ve got him what will they do with him?
According to the official release sent out this morning, Fedor will make his debut on Showtime this fall against an as-of-yet unnamed opponent. As far as big men go, at the moment Strikeforce has Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, and Brett Rogers as their marquee attractions. Since Overeem is currently the champ, we have to think he’ll get the first crack at Emelianenko, assuming he can stay out of nightclub brawls long enough to let his hand heal.
As for how the principal actors in this drama are feeling about things, we’ll let them tell you in their own words, via the press release:
Fedor Emelianenko: “I am looking forward to going back to work and fighting at the highest level. STRIKEFORCE is a top fight promotion that houses some of the greatest fighters in the world. I am prepared to fight any of them." [ed. note: consider yourself officially on notice, Gina Carano.]
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker: "We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with M-1 Global and Fedor. Fedor has been the reigning king of MMA’s heavyweight division for quite some time now so being able to work with M-1 and Fedor will substantially increase the level of competition amongst the athletes in this weight class."
Showtime Sports Senior VP Ken Hershman: "With the addition of Fedor and STRIKEFORCE’s new relationship with M-1 Global, SHOWTIME is now the home of the best pound-for-pound male and female fighters in the world. The Aug. 15 Carano-Cyborg matchup on SHOWTIME will clearly determine the best female mixed martial artist on the planet. Then, come this Fall, our subscribers again will witness history when the universally recognized best male fighter-Fedor Emelianenko-joins the already long list of world-class athletes on the STRIKEFORCE roster, and for the first time ever plies his skills live on SHOWTIME. We are better positioned now than ever before to deliver on our promise to televise the top fighters in mixed martial arts today."
M-1 Global Godfather/President Vadim Finkelchtein: "I am very happy and excited about the upcoming collaboration with Strikeforce. We are very pleased that we found a reliable partner and I feel that Strikeforce and M-1 can support each other on many things. This will create big opportunities for both parties to test their fighters against worthy opponents."
So there it is. Strikeforce officially has the world’s best heavyweight, despite not having a single other big man who is even in the top five of the division. Get ready for a series of fights with increasingly far-fetched attempts at making the challenger seem like a credible threat. At least it’s better than a career’s worth of Japanese freak show fights. New Year’s Eve only comes once a year, thank God.