Conflicting reports have emerged today on the current status of M-1 Global, the company who currently manage Fedor Emelianenko and promote MMA events around the world.
First the middleeasy.com site questioned M-1’s head of operations Evgeni Kogan on rumors that the company was in the region of $15-20 million in debt. Kogan flat-out denied that was true and questioned where the site had received the information.
Hours later mmafighting.com’s Michael David Smith posted up an article stating that M-1 Global’s base of operations in The Netherlands has, “ceased to exist.” He went on to report that staff had been cut and that key investors in the company have also backed out, with Fedor’s recent loss to Fabricio Werdum, which ended a ten year unbeaten run, believed to be the root of the problem.
Dutch website mixfight.nl is credited in the article as having first reported the story of the Netherlands branch being shut down.
With the internet beginning to buzz with the rumor, Evgeni Kogan again came out to dismiss the story as pure fiction.
“Eh, that article is 100% made up. There is not an ounce of truth to it,” Kogan tells the BloodyElbow site.
“There is no panic, Fedor retains his status in the sport (financially and in terms of perspective). To believe any different is to be out of touch with the business reality of MMA (or any other sport for that matter).
The head office in Holland is here and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As are the offices in Russia, Ukraine, US and the affiliates in Asia.
M-1 remains healthy and has the same leadership and investors as it has had since 1997 (making it pretty much the longest running promotion out there).
We’re looking forward to promoting the Selection finals in Moscow on the 22nd and the Semis in AC on August the 7th. Challenge will take place in the fall.”
Kogan also posted on his own twitter account to further refute the claims and insist that it was business as usual for the company.
“Taken by surprise by reports of own panic and demise! M-1 is, as has been, for 13 years. Nothing is changing, people.”
“Apparently it’s too much to expect even mediocre levels of journalism from some of our press.”
So if we’re to take Kogan at his word then it would seem that this is just a case of an internet rumor spiraling out of control. There’s no smoke without fire as they say though and it would be somewhat surprising if an established journalist like Michael David Smith was completely wide of the mark here.
As the story continues to snowball Sports Illustrated’s Josh Gross has also become involved. Along with confirming that MDS is sticking with his original story, he’s been in touch with Kogan to ascertain the truth behind the rumors.
“M-1 let go 4 employees, so they say, as part of a “restructuring.” Kogan said M-1 employs 60 people in their various offices,” Gross reports via twitter.
Middleeasy.com have also stated they are standing by their story, and note that both PRIDE and Affliction denied they were in trouble just before they collapsed. They also are suggested that the number of employees that Josh Gross reported have been let go will rise significantly in the coming weeks.
It’ll be interesting to see what further twists and turns there are to come in this story. There’s no doubt that M-1 Global have burned a number of bridges in recent years with their various dealings in MMA and with the man who they’ve built their brand around, Fedor Emelianenko’s stock dropping significantly after his loss there’s no doubt that this is a rough period for the promotion.