There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Fedor Emelianenko’s future recently, particularly after he was withdrawn from Strikeforce’s upcoming April event on CBS due to contract re-negotiations.
A fortnight ago Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated that the promotion and M-1 Global were close to ironing out the amendments to the deal, but despite that rumors persist that M-1 are talking with rival organization, the UFC.
M-1 Global themselves have denied this has happened, but when asked at last months UFC 110 Q&A whether they had been speaking with them Dana White simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled in an exaggerated fashion that suggested he perhaps knew more than he was letting on.
Speaking on Wednesday’s edition of the Savage Dog Show on the Sherdog Radio Network, Greg Savage added fuel to the fire that something may indeed be going on behind closed doors.
“Dana White told me at UFC 108 that he wouldn’t be surprised if they could, you know do something with Fedor before anyone else thinks they could,” Savage told his co-host Jordan Breen. “Now with Fedor and M-1 trying to renegotiate their deal withe Strikeforce – something that I’m told has not been finalized yet – I hear that the UFC may be talking to Fedor right now.”
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s media day for Strikeforce’s next major CBS event Scott Coker appeared to let his guard slip for a moment while discussing whether there is any substance to the rumors that Fedor’s people were talking to the UFC.
“You know I’ve heard that rumor – they deny it…but in this business you never know,” Coker said. “On a serious note – I’m just joking of course – but on a serious note I feel like we’re on the 5 yard line, we’re going to punch it in, and when we punch it in we’ll let all you guys know.”
Despite his assertions that he was just joking the old saying that ‘many a true word are said in jest’ may well apply here.
It would be hard to blame Coker if he was feeling that way as M-1 Global are hardly coming off as the most trustworthy partners at this time due to them effectively using Fedor to hold Strikeforce to ransom in an attempt to improve their contract terms just one fight into their current deal.
Having said that, at this stage this all just remains speculation. Personally I think it’s far more likely that M-1 Global and Strikeforce will continue their partnership, but at the same time considering who’s involved I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t.
Like the rumor that the UFC may have been planning to counter-programming Strikeforce’s Nashville card this may just be another case of the UFC manipulating the media to stir things up, but until Strikeforce can finally button up their re-negotiations with M-1 Global, they are unlikely to go away, and will continue to draw attention away from their upcoming event.
Judge for yourself whether Scott Coker was joking by watching his full interview at the Strikeforce media day courtesy of Fight! Magazine.