The contract renegotiations between M-1 Global and Strikeforce which prevented Fedor Emelianenko from featuring in next month’s CBS event are believed to be close to completion according to both organizations.
The news was first reported by sherdog.com who spoke directly to M-1’s Director Of Operations Evgeni Kogan.
“After the CBS show, we thought that the terms needed a little bit tweaking — nothing major, just a little bit of tweaking. So, we had a round of negotiations with Strikeforce. Everything went positively. We’re pretty much at the end,” Kogan said.
Both M-1 Global and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker have been reluctant to state exactly what the terms were, but Kogan suggests that brand awareness was a key issue.
“Obviously, we are much more than the management company for Fedor. For us, it’s really important that the M-1 Global brand is acknowledged on these co-promotion events. As much as the partners made a lot of effort to acknowledge the co-branding, the media basically picked up on the fact that it was Strikeforce and kind of forgot about everything else, which wasn’t the most ideal for us.”
I found it interesting to read Kogan’s comments suggesting that M-1 Global felt that they were not receiving enough credit for co-promoting the ‘Fedor Vs Rogers’ event.
Since I’m based in the UK I paid to watch that particular event live online, and since this internet stream was one of the aspects of the event that M-1 Global were responsible for, it meant that I had a different viewing experience from those watching in the U.S on CBS.
For instance, instead of the CBS announcing team, the event was instead covered by M-1 Global’s 0wn partnership of Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith, and to be fair they did a solid enough job.
During the commercial breaks the space was filled with advertisements for M-1 Global, and in general I came away from the event feeling surprised at how little mention there had been about Strikeforce during the broadcast.
So I can’t help but feel it’s somewhat ironic that M-1 Global appear to have had issues with the way their brand was portrayed by Strikeforce when it seems they were doing exactly the same thing in reverse when given the opportunity.
Also, using Fedor as a bargaining chip in this renegotiation may be a move that has done more harm than good for the company. Now Strikeforce have been forced to head into their second CBS event without their flagship star, and if the ratings suffer as a result then that could spell the event of the television partnership between CBS and Strikeforce.
That’s a theory that I’ve suggested before on this site, and this week Bloody Elbow also ran with a story questioning whether this could be the case.
If CBS were to pull out of broadcasting future Strikeforce events then that could mean that Fedor will have to see out the remaining fights of his contract in front of hundreds of thousands watching on Showtime, rather than the millions who would watch on CBS.
So it’s certainly been a risky strategy from M-1 Global and I question whether it has been worthwhile for them.
Considering that one of their key concerns is the way their brand is being portrayed in The United States in particular, the kind of headlines that they have generated in recent weeks are unlikely to have enhanced the level of trust and goodwill towards them.